UTSA can seem like an intimidating place for the uninitiated, which is why eight students from Northwest Vista College (NVC) are visiting the College of Engineering this week to get a closer look at what resources Roadrunners have at their fingertips.
“We would like to establish a pathway of green engineering students from the community college level and bring them all the way up to the doctoral level,” said Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Krystel Castillo, who’s heading up the project. “We truly believe that research shouldn’t be just for graduate students. UTSA is very supportive of undergrads conducting research and working in the labs, and now we’re providing this opportunity to community college students as well.”
The two-week long camp is part of Castillo’s Water Treatment, Agricultural-logistics and Renewable Energy (WeARE) systems project, which received a $290,000 grant from the USDA in Fall 2014 to study clean energy.
These NVC students plan to transfer to UTSA and, for the next two weeks, are getting acquainted with the campus, working with engineering faculty (Drs. Frank Chen, Heather Shipley, Marcio Giacomoni, as well as Castillo) and getting hands-on experience with the kind of equipment undergrads dream of getting their hands on. In the coming days, they’ll have some face-time with robots and sustainable flexible manufacturing systems; conduct experiments on water treatment; and learn how to use data analytics to improve bioenergy and water resources systems.
“I see excitement in students’ faces and that’s always good,” Castillo said. “In the beginning they’re a little bit timid, but toward the end they become very excited about being a part of UTSA community.”
The WeARE camp continues through May 29th. Click here for more photos.