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Have research, will travel: Environmental science grad studies in Brazil

joshuaconner

UTSA environmental science graduate Joshua Conner

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(Aug. 4, 2011)--It isn't unusual for graduate students and scholars to travel abroad to participate in research projects under other academics. It is slightly less likely for undergraduates to be offered the chance to study under one of the leaders in their chosen field.

Carlos D. Garcia from UTSA and his collaborators, Frank Gomez from California State University-Los Angeles, and Emanuel Carrilho, from Universidade de Sao Paulo, have developed an international research experience for undergraduates to do just that.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the International Research Experience for Undergraduates grant provides travel expenses, such as airfare to Sao Paulo, ground transportation to Sao Carlos, housing and meals, as well as a modest scholarship for participants. It does not pay for any tourist-related trips the students may wish to take.

Joshua Conner, an environmental science May 2011 graduate, will travel with Garcia to Brazil this summer. He had taken a class with Garcia in the past, and when Garcia asked him to apply, he thought it would be an interesting experience to help him decide what step to take next in his studies.

"I'll be learning some of the stuff they've been doing to develop a microchip that will detect small amounts of chemicals," Conner explained. The chip could have implications for use in environmental science for in-field testing.

This will be Conner's first trip abroad. The eight-week program allows U.S. students to work with their Brazilian counterparts performing cutting-edge research. Garcia first took undergraduate students on the sponsored trip in 2010, which involved eight weeks of research on up to eight projects at the Institute of Chemistry of Sao Carlos.

Besides performing top-quality research, students have access to unique facilities such as the Synchrotron Radiation National Lab. We hope that all these scientific and cultural experiences will have a positive impact on their perceptions about the world, Garcia said.

The four United States students will join teams with Brazilian students working within similar research interests. Participants focus on developing highly trained undergraduate for careers in modern analytical chemistry such as microfluidics, chemical analysis and materials science in a program that includes research, seminars and workshops.

Funded by a National Science Foundation grant, the trip encourages undergraduate researchers to gain international experience though the Developing Global Scientists and Engineers program. The International Research Experiences for Students allows groups of U.S. undergraduate or graduate students conducting research abroad in collaboration with foreign investigators.

All the projects have been selected to permit tangible accomplishments -- potentially including refereed publication and presentation at an appropriate scientific meeting -- yet must be sufficiently open-ended so that students could potentially continue working at their home institutions.

All the projects available to students have been developed primarily from ongoing, externally funded research programs. The students are expected to return to their home institutions capable of presenting their results at a scientific meeting and earn a co-authorship of a paper in a peer-reviewed publication.

Conner hopes to accomplish enough work that he will be able to write a couple of journal articles as well as present at scientific conferences on his results: "I'm just going to do as much as I can while I'm there to improve my skills."

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2011 participants

  • Jose Jurado (Drexel University; San Antonio)
  • Joshua Conner (UTSA; San Antonio)
  • Marisol Salgado (CSU Los Angeles; Los Angeles)
  • Melendez Jhanisus (CSU Los Angeles; Los Angeles)

2010 participants

  • Robert Sarver (St. Phillips Community College; San Antonio)
  • Joseph Barrios (UTSA; San Antonio)
  • Maria Ortega (CSU Los Angeles; Los Angeles)
  • Chris Serrato (East Los Angeles College; Los Angeles)

 

 

Events

Wednesday, May 4, 5 p.m.

School Psychology Symposium and Reception

Student posters will present case studies based on practicum experiences, literature reviews on topics relevant to educational psychology, and other research experiences this year. The event is free and open to the public.
Southwest Room (DB 1.124), Downtown Campus

Thursday, May 5, 5 p.m.

String Project Spring Concert

This end-of-semester concert will feature the 3rd through 8th grade students who have participated in the UTSA String Project this year. The event is free and open to the public.
Buena Vista Theater, Downtown Campus

Friday, May 6, 8 p.m.

First Friday Stargazing

The UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy, Curtis Vaughan Observatory invites everyone to join them for their monthly stargazing event on top of the Flawn Science Building.
Curtis Vaughan Observatory, Main Campus

Sunday, May 8, 1 p.m.

Accordions Across Culture

May’s Free Second Sunday at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures features "Accordions Across Cultures," with performances of Mexican, German and Czech accordion music, a documentary screening and crafts for the kids.
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures

Monday, May 9, 8 a.m.

The Honeynet Project Workshop

This three-day event will focus on the tools, tactics and motives involved in computer and network attacks. Attendees from around the world will take part in world-class hands-on trainings and technical discussions.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom, Main Campus

Thursday, May 12, 4 p.m.

Master of Public Administration Open House

Visit with faculty, alumni and students to discuss the benefits of and requirements for a Master Degree in Public Administration and/or the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration & Leadership.
Meeting Assembly Room (BVB 1.338), Downtown Campus

Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m.

UTSA Spring Commencement: Ceremony One

UTSA Spring Commencement ceremony for the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, the College of Education and Human Development and the College of Sciences.
Alamodome

Saturday, May 14, 4 p.m.

UTSA Spring Commencement: Ceremony Two

UTSA Spring Commencement ceremony for the College of Business, the College of Public Policy and University College.
Alamodome

Sunday, May 15, 2 p.m.

UTSA Spring Commencement: Ceremony Three

UTSA Spring Commencement ceremony for the College of Engineering and the College of Liberal and Fine Arts.
Alamodome

Wednesday, May 18, 3 p.m.

The Great Staff Appreciation Event

The UTSA community is invited to honor the roughly 2,600 UTSA staff members who contribute to the success of the university and its students.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom, Main Campus

Thursday, May 19, 6 p.m.

Superintendent Certification Program Information Session

Join UTSA faculty and staff, current students, and area central office administrators/program alumni to learn about this exciting accelerated and web-enhanced program leading to Texas Superintendent Certification. The event is free and open to the public.
BVB 1.322, Downtown Campus


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