Nov. 20, 2019 — UTSA is educating and preparing the next generation of scientists and engineers to provide innovative solutions to the grand challenges in nuclear security.
A cross-disciplinary team of researchers led by faculty members in the College of Sciences and the College of Engineering have been awarded nearly $3 million in grant funding by the National Nuclear Security Administration for their project CONNECT (The CONsortium on Nuclear sECurity Technologies).
UTSA team members included Kelly Nash (PI), associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy; Miltos Alamaniotis, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Amanda Fernandez, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science; Harry Millwater, the Samuel G. Dawson Endowed Professor of Mechanical Engineering; and Elizabeth Sooby Wood, assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
“CONNECT is an excellent example of cross-disciplinary collaboration, drawing on the strengths of talented faculty in both the College of Sciences and the College of Engineering,” explained David Silva, dean of UTSA’s Colleges of Sciences. “We are excited to support this important venture that will prepare students to make positive impacts in nuclear security.”
“This type of collaboration between sciences and engineering researchers is critical to making the next big discoveries in energy and security. UTSA researchers continue to provide these unique opportunities to our students in the lab but also in the classroom, so that they are prepared to engage across all disciplines in their careers,” added JoAnn Browning, dean of UTSA’s College of Engineering.
The UTSA team is partnered with leaders in both student training and nuclear forensics science, including investigators at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (Frederic Poineau), St. Mary’s University (Juan Ocampo), Argonne National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Nash and Wood explained that the consortium will conduct basic and applied research that utilizes experimental and computational technologies to create a pipeline of diverse students with strong backgrounds in nuclear science, fissionable fuels fabrication and processing, nuclear materials characterization, nuclear forensic signatures, nuclear technology, and data and visual analytics.
Students studying physics, computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering, among other disciplines, will work together on interdisciplinary research and network with experts in the nuclear security field.
“The overall goal of the project is to connect students interested in STEM with national Department of Energy labs and top experts so they are prepared to enter the workforce and be leaders in careers pertaining to national nuclear security,” explained Nash, the principal investigator of the grant.
“CONNECT gives students the opportunity to explore topics, such as nuclear materials and nuclear security and they may never have considered these fields before. The project has both an educational and scientific impact as it introduces students to the various career opportunities available,” replied Wood.
The CONNECT consortium is part of the NNSA Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program. which is designed to build a pipeline between the Department of Energy's sites and labs and minority-serving institutions in STEM disciplines and bring a heightened awareness of NNSA plants and laboratories to institutions with a common interest in STEM research fields. Currently MSIPP supports 10 consortium-based teams consisting of participants from select institutions.
“UTSA provides rich undergraduate experiential learning opportunities like this and it’s especially important for undergraduates because it provides a pathway for them to acquire real-world research and career experiences,” said Nash.
During the three-year grant, 13 Ph.D. students and nearly 30 undergraduate students will be supported through the project.
Nash said that UTSA and its CONNECT partners will host undergraduates during the summer to introduce the students to research and career opportunities and to also provide mentorship.
Celebrate UTSA’s 50th Anniversary and share social media posts about the 50th using the hashtag #UTSA50.
Students are invited to get to know the University Career Center. Attendees will learn about the University Career Center, its resources and upcoming events. This presentation will be facilitated by University Career Center team members and will highlight ways in which students may access the office's services.Virtual Event
If you are living on or near the UTSA Main Campus, Honors College staff will be set up outside the GSR Building from 2-4 pm handing out Goody Bags while supplies lasts. Goody Bag quantities are limited. Not in the San Antonio area? Unfortunately we will be unable to ship a goody bag to you but will be sure to have goodies for you when you return to San Antonio.Outside GSR Building, Main Campus
The Graduate School is excited to welcome back our graduate students with a virtual game of pictionary.Virtual Event
Meet the new UTSA Wellbeing Promotions and Education Team! Your wellbeing is an essential component of your success. Learn about upcoming wellbeing initiatives, programs, and services that you have at your disposal to improve your wellbeing!Virtual Event
The Meet and Greet event will include Deans from our ten academic colleges, as well as your elected Student Government representatives. Join us to learn more about the programs and services offered on campus, ask questions, and give input. We especially encourage our Transfer and First-Gen community to join us for this fun event, to learn more about UTSA and connect with our Academic administration!Virtual Event
Are you in or interested in Recovery? Do you want to be a part of a community where you can be supported and support others? Come find out Who's in Recovery and learn more.Virtual Event
It’s time to grab your microphone and practice your best dance moves and get ready to participate in Roadrunner Productions’s Virtual Lip Sync Battle! Organizations and individuals will submit an application with a video link from YouTube, TikTok, Instagram Reel, or IGTV video that follow certain guidelines to be premiered at our event. All submissions will be reviewed, and once approved, will be shown at the event. Roadrunner Productions and fellow UTSA students will vote on superlatives to be awarded to each participating team!Virtual Event
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.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.