(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.
The community is invited to the inauguration of UTSA President Taylor Eighmy, the sixth president of UTSA.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
The Provost's Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council hosts this forum to share and further explain the results of the survey and to offer the opportunity for faculty and staff to provide feedback.
Durango Building La Villita Room (DB 1.116), Downtown Campus
For more than 20 years, Josie Méndez-Negrete, a UTSA associate professor in Mexican American Studies, has endured the emotional journey of watching her son, Tito, struggle with schizophrenia. Her powerful account is the first memoir by a Mexican American author to share the devastation and hope a family experiences in dealing with this mental illness.
H-E-B Student Union Travis Room (HSU 2.212), Main Campus
Graduate and undergraduate student researchers pursuing majors in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts will present their original work.
Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
March Into Your Major is a major exploration fair intended to provide students with information on selecting their major.
H-E-B Student Union Ballroom (HSU 1.104/1.106), Main Campus
The UTSA community is invited to this town hall meeting to learn more about progress of the Student Success Presidential initiative.
Frio Street Building (FS 1.512), Downtown Campus
Author Annette Angela Portillo will read her book, which examines Native American women’s autobiographical discourses and multiple-voiced life stories that resist generic conventional notions of first-person narrative.
McKinney Humanities Building (MH 3.02.24), Main Campus
Chelsea Wentworth, anthropology professor at High Point University, will discuss women’s roles in changing customary feasting patterns so that feasts can serve as a coping mechanism for children’s food insecurity in urban areas the South Pacific Island nation, Vanuatu.
H-E-B Student Union Travis Room (HSU 2.202), Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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