Saturday, November 28, 2015


Outreach programs lead Jessica George to pursue education in environmental engineering

Jessica George

Jessica George

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(Sept. 28, 2010)--At Ronald Reagan High School, Jessica George loaded up on liberal arts classes, hoping to pursue a career in either social work or law. She had two uncles with engineering degrees, "but I just never got the bug," she said.

In the spring of her sophomore year, however, she learned about the UTSA Summer Research Stipend Program. The competitive summer program allows students to work on active engineering research projects while getting paid. She applied to the program and was accepted.

For two months, George studied osteo imperfecta alongside mechanical engineering professor Xiaodu Wang in the UTSA Hard Tissue Biomechanics Laboratory. The genetic condition, better known as brittle bones, occurs mostly in children and is estimated to affect up to 50,000 people.

"That summer was an incredible experience," George recalled. "I was able to work with specimens and do other things that opened my eyes to the work of science and the scientific process."

Intrigued, George returned to the program and Wang's laboratory the following summer. During her second stint in the laboratory, she learned about computer modeling. She also gained an understanding of engineering's many facets.

"I learned that engineering isn't just about sitting there building things," said George. "It teaches you to think. You have to put your brain through a workout, and you have to look at things from a different perspective. If anything, that's what made me fall in love with it."

Ultimately, she applied to UTSA and was accepted. She loves engineering but is quick to admit the road to an engineering degree is arduous. To ensure her math skills were rock solid, she opted to take UTSA's "Just in Time Math" during her freshman year. The course is offered by the UTSA Center for Excellence in Engineering Education (CE3) to freshman engineering majors. It teaches mathematics principles and shows students how those principals apply to engineering problems.

George also took a part-time position in the Environmental Engineering Laboratory run by Professor Heather Shipley. Her research team is studying how nanoparticles can be used to remove metal pollutants from drinking water sources.

"Engineering is more than just math and science," said Shipley. "It takes well-rounded individuals like Jessica to solve our current problems. Students with a liberal arts background add a different perspective. Through engineering support programs like 'Just in Time Math,' students who initially did not think they could pursue STEM disciplines can become successful and well-rounded engineers."

George expects to graduate with her bachelor's degree in December 2013.



Dec. 1, 9 a.m.

CITE Venture Competition & Exposition

The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus

Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert

This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus

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Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.

At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.

Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.

With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.

Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.

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UTSA's Vision

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