Saturday, November 28, 2015


Uno, One or 1: Does it make a difference in math class?


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(Nov. 3, 2010)--Assistant Professor Nicole Wicha in the UTSA Department of Biology and UTSA Neurosciences Institute, has been awarded $150,000 over the next two years from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The grant will fund a study on how the bilingual brain computes simple mathematical calculations.

The grant is the result of a collaborative effort between Wicha, who studies the underpinnings of the bilingual brain, and Elena Salillas, a math cognition scholar who recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Wicha's neuroscience laboratory.

"Neuroscientists have just begun to study how the brain processes simple numerical calculations," said Wicha. "Bilinguals pose an interesting problem for the field because they have two languages to represent the same mathematical concepts. Our findings suggest that bilinguals are faster and more accurate at processing calculations, such as simple multiplications, if those calculations are given in the language in which they originally learned them, even if the bilinguals are more proficient in another language.

"Using non-invasive brain recordings, we are able to see that the brain actually uses arithmetic concepts differently based on the language in which they are presented. We now want to extend our work to individuals who actively use these concepts in both of their languages, such as bilingual math teachers and students."

Wicha and master's student Christina Cortinas from the UTSA experimental psychology program are looking for bilingual math teachers proficient in English and Spanish to participate in their study. Volunteers will be paid a stipend for participation and travel compensation. For more information, call 210-458-7012 or e-mail

During a single session in Wicha's laboratory, the teachers will answer a series of simple mathematical calculations using English and Spanish words and numerical digits, while their brain function and responses are recorded.

To Cortinas, Wicha's work hit home. Her parents are bilingual educators in Brownsville, Texas. In the long run, Wicha plans to extend this work to bilingual children learning math concepts and hopes that her work will help develop new teaching and testing techniques for all students learning math.



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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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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