Feb 28th, 2012 by dayoung
They came from twenty one different schools – almost one hundred representatives from places as far away as Puerto Rico and as close as Brownsville. They were here at UTPA for one reason – to network and find ways for their universities to collaborate on research projects.
With the help of funding from the Army Research Office and the Minority Serving Institutions Research Partnership Consortium , UTPA’s Office of Research and Sponsored Projects hosted the two-day symposium on February 20-21 to bring together researchers from minority serving schools as disparate as Clark-Atlanta University , California State University-Fullerton and the University System of Ana G. Mendez in Puerto Rico. Besides informing each other of their current research projects in the hope of finding collaborators, other institutions of higher education such as the University of Chicago , the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Northwestern University, came seeking minority serving schools to partner with in their research projects.
Dr. Theresa Bailey, Director of UTPA’s Office of Research and Sponsored Projects, also serves as the current Chair of the Minority Serving Institutions Research Partnership Consortium. It was through her initiative that the symposium was held at UTPA this year. Both UTPA President Dr. Robert Nelsen, and Provost Dr. Havidán Rodriguez, welcomed the group. Notable was Dr. Nelsen’s expressed desire that the schools do more than talk, but rather truly establish working relationships that benefit their institutions, students and faculty alike. After the conference, Dr. Bailey said “Each symposium brings new projects and new collaborations to our member schools. This year was no different and I am sure we will see fruitful collaborations in the near future that came out of this meeting.”
Dr. Harlan Jerro of Southern University (left) made a detailed presentation on the integrated IT research currently underway at his school. Other researchers made equally detailed presentations on other topics, including BioDefense, Engineered Materials for Efficient Molecular Transformations, Fuel Cell and Battery Technologies, the Social Dimensions of Disaster Research, and Biomedical Research.
This cross-pollination of ideas enabled the exchange of more detailed information between researchers working on similar projects, with the hope that future collaborations were possible. Such conversations were the hallmark of the conference – and an essential part of it. UTPA President Dr. Robert Nelsen (center) shares some thoughts with Dr. Joseph Whittaker (left) from Morgan State University in Maryland as Dr. Miguel Gonzalez (right), Interim Vice Provost for Research and Sponsored Projects at UTPA, looks on.
And the discussions were animated as schools saw the possibilities of collaborating on projects. Dr. Vallen Emery (below) of the Army Research Laboratory moderated the discussions and encouraged side conversations.