San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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April 1st, 2008
Summer undergrad research program promotes future of technology

By Marc Speir

The Ingram School of Engineering at Texas State University-San Marcos and the Engineering Technology Department at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi are collaborating for an intensive program this summer designed to promote undergraduate student research.

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the 10-week project starts June 1 and ends Aug. 2, focusing primarily on micro-robotics, nanotechnology and automation.

Ten promising undergraduate candidates from across the nation will participate in cutting-edge technology, workshops, research methods, ethics, project management and field trips to high-tech companies and research facilities in the Austin and Dallas areas.

Each student will receive a $6,740 stipend in addition to $1,250 for housing and $750 for meals.

Bahram Asiabanpour, assistant professor in manufacturing engineering at Texas State and researcher for the project, says the program offers undergraduates a unique opportunity in the cutting-edge and high-demand industries of micro-robotics and nanotechnology.

“Research experience makes students more successful in finding a job because their resume will look better, also in succeeding in their careers because it makes them good critical thinkers,” Asiabanpour said. “For those students interested in higher education at the master’s and Ph.D. levels, research experience will assist in getting admitted into better programs and increasing their mental acuity and problem-solving capabilities.”

Texas State will provide the primary training site with a modern semiconductor-manufacturing lab called a “10,000 clean room,” meaning there are less than 10,000 particles per cubic feet of air in the lab.

Texas State faculty in the project includes Asiabanpour, Jesus Jimenez and Clara Novoa. Dugan Um, assistant professor at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, will also contribute. Faculty will lead students in six research projects in the moving parts of micro electro-mechanical materials, micro manufacturing technology, micro gripper systems, infrared 3D sensor technology, feedback control systems for rapid assembly and in micro-robotic arm dynamics and motion control.

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