Deborah Silliman Wolfe/College of Engineering
Benjamin Champion traveled further than most students to attend UTSA, approximately 9,000 miles further. The Australian Ph.D. candidate came to UTSA in the fall of 2015 from Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and just wrapped up his studies here in Texas in June. Champion studied the Feasibility of Simultaneous Control of Underwater and Land Based Heterogeneous Robotic Swarms in the College of Engineering’s Autonomous Control Engineering (ACE) Lab.
“Basically, in my research I am trying to control robots that are located both under the water and on land to retrieve objects from under the water and transfer them to the land robot autonomously,” Champion said. “I came to study in the ACE lab at UTSA because my supervisor at Deakin University, Matthew Joorden, came to the ACE lab to work on his Ph.D. in underwater robotics. A lot of the equipment that he used was in the ACE lab, so we decided that I would also try to come to the ACE lab to continue on his work.”
Champion said that coming to UTSA was a good opportunity for him to meet a lot of other people in his field from other parts of the world, as well as learn how other universities approach research.
According to Mo Jamshidi, Lutcher Brown Endowed Chair and Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the UTSA ACE Lab has been hosting Deakin University Ph.D. candidates from 6-18 months for the past 11 years. Jamshidi coordinates the exchanges, and is an honorary professor of Deakin University.
“We here at UTSA are gaining a global reputation for Tier One research at the Ph.D. level,” said Jamshidi. “And it shows because scholars are willing to fund themselves and travel thousands of miles from their home countries to come here to Texas. These visits have produced numerous journal and conference joint papers. We have had scholar visitors from not only Australia, but also from Mexico, Spain, France, India, and Saudi Arabia, to mention a few.”
Champion said that he had a wonderful time at UTSA and in the ACE lab and would recommend studying abroad to other students.
“You are able to learn a lot about your field, as different places have different ways about approaching problems, especially in engineering,” he said. “Studying aboard is also a good way to make contacts that you normally would not be able to do. Additionally, traveling to another country also lets you experience things that you would not normally be able to do in your own country.”