Faculty Mentors Host Students from Mexico for Research Program
Sept. 2, 2016
Through the UT Dallas-Mexico Summer Research Program, students from Mexico conducted their research projects under the supervision of faculty mentors on campus, then analyze the data and present their findings.
Fifteen undergraduates participated in a UT Dallas summer program that invites junior-level students from Mexico to explore careers in science and engineering research.
The UT Dallas-Mexico Summer Research Program is designed to equip students from participating Mexican universities with the skills and knowledge they need to pursue careers in these fields.
Through the program, participants conduct their own research projects under the supervision of faculty mentors on campus, then analyze the data and present their findings.
The highly selective program received 380 applications this year.
Hands-On Training with UT Dallas Faculty
Dr. Austin Cunningham, associate provost, said the summer program enhances the students’ knowledge and interest in a research career.
“Participants were engaged in hands-on, STEM-related learning experiences that inspire curiosity and help connect students to the real-world experiences of STEM professionals,” Cunningham said. “The objective was to give students project-based learning experiences as a contributing member of an active research group.”
The program, which has existed for 12 years, was organized by the Office of Graduate Studies, the Office of Undergraduate Studies, the Provost’s Office and the International Center, with the co-sponsorship of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, and the Office of Research.
The program is made possible through a partnership with 100,000 Strong in the Americas and the Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation, and Research. Since 2002, 124 undergraduate students have taken part in the UT Dallas program.
Dr. Kelli Palmer, assistant professor of biology in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, described Nancy Mayorga from the University of Las Americas as a “treasure” in the lab.
“Nancy was highly talented, meticulous and a hard worker,” Palmer said. “I hope that there will be future opportunities for her to do research at UT Dallas.”
Opportunity to Conduct Novel Research
Dr. Nicholas Fey, assistant professor of bioengineering and mechanical engineering in the Jonsson School, praised the work of Raymundo Peña from the University of Guadalajara on prosthetic devices.
“Raymundo developed a novel mechanical biofeedback system from scratch for us to evaluate the connection of lower-extremity prostheses to amputees,” Fey said. “He also designed and performed an experiment evaluating how well individuals can isolate different mechanical force and moment fields for varying forms of feedback, and carried out the final analyses of these data. I am excited to publish these results in an international journal or conference publication.”
Summer Faculty Mentors
Dr. Zachary Campbell, Dr. Lawrence Reitzer, Dr. Denis J. Dean, Dr. Zhenyu Xuan, Dr. Moon Kim, Dr. Mustapha Ishak-Boushaki, Dr. Lindsay King, Dr. Gopal Gupta, Dr. Robert Gregg, Dr. Nikki Delk, Dr. Poras T. Balsara, Dr. Kelli Palmer, Dr. Mihaela C. Stefan, Dr. Nicholas Fey, Dr. Lloyd Lumata and Thomas Lambert.
Dr. Gopal Gupta, professor of computer science, had the opportunity to mentor Miguel Lara from Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education.
“In two months, Miguel quickly learned the basics of automated theorem proving, computational logic and non-monotonic reasoning,” Gupta said. “Working with my group, he also applied those ideas to build an application that will advise a person on what gift to get a friend based on their Facebook profile. I was really impressed by Miguel's intellect, perseverance and propensity to learn.”
Cristina Avila from the Autonomous University of Coahuila was grateful for the opportunity to learn how to more effectively communicate in her field.
“The most important knowledge I learned was that I can communicate in a scientific language,” she said. “I think this is an advantage when I go back to Mexico. I will have the ability to communicate scientifically with professors or researchers.”