Texas A&M Engineering News The Look College is one of the largest engineering schools in the country, ranking third in undergraduate enrollment and sixth in graduate enrollment by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) in its 2011 survey. The Look College also ranked seventh in the number bachelor's degrees awarded, 13th in master's degrees awarded and 10th in doctoral degrees awarded. And our college consistently ranks among the nation's top public undergraduate and graduate engineering programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. http://engineering.tamu.edu Thu, 30 Jun 2016 00:00:00 CST Thu, 30 Jun 2016 00:00:00 CST TAMUite takes first in district, moves on to collegiate international competition Kristina Ballard <kristina.ballard@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/30/tamuite-takes-first-in-district-moves-on-to-collegiate-international-competition <p class="leftalign"><img width="479" height="199" src="/media/3732048/tamuite_479x199.jpg" alt="TAMUite team 2016" class="centeralign"/></p> <p>The Texas A&amp;M University student chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (TAMUite) is a high-achieving organization. In addition to being one of the largest ITE student chapters in the nation, the chapter hosted 11 guest speakers and signed six contracts with three different clients, creating an income of around $16,000 for the organization. Based on the high-level activity, the chapter was recently recognized as the 2016 Best Student Chapter of the Texas district.</p> <p>The organization recently won the 2016 Texas District ITE Collegiate Traffic Bowl, an annual competition amongst ITE student chapter teams using transportation planning and engineering topics for the clues, questions and answers. With this win, the team will proceed to the international competition in Anaheim, California, on Aug. 14-17. </p> <p>Along with transportation students, the organization includes members from other engineering and planning specialty areas such as construction management, geotechnical engineering and construction sciences, and its membership is open to all Texas A&amp;M students. A significant percentage of TAMUite members are women, including the current president Maryam Shirinzadeh Dastgiri, who is the third female president in a row. TAMUite is completely student-operated, where undergraduate and graduate students work together to fulfill the organization’s goal of promoting the advancement of transportation engineering for a better transportation tomorrow.</p> <p>TAMUite’s activities include The Big Event and Aggieland Saturday, monthly general meetings with speakers from academic and professional backgrounds and the TxDOT Adopt-A-Highway program. For more information, visit:  http://www.texite.org/tamu.</p> <p>For more information on the ITE Collegiate Traffic Bowl competition, visit:  http://www.ite.org/trafficbowl.</p> <p> </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/30/tamuite-takes-first-in-district-moves-on-to-collegiate-international-competition http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/30/tamuite-takes-first-in-district-moves-on-to-collegiate-international-competition Thu, 30 Jun 2016 00:00:00 CST Texas A&M at Qatar SPE chapter named Outstanding Student Chapter for second year in a row Lesley Kriewald <lesleyk@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/texas-am-at-qatar-spe-chapter-named-outstanding-student-chapter-for-second-year-in-a-row <p><img width="700" height="628" src="/media/3732034/petrobowl-coe_700x628.jpg" alt="Photo of Texas A&amp;M at Qatar regional Petrobowl team"/></p> <p>The Texas A&amp;M University at Qatar chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) has been named Outstanding Student Chapter in the Middle East-North Africa region for the second year in a row.</p> <p>In addition, a team of SPE members (pictured above) as won first place in the regional Petrobowl qualifier and will advance to the international contest.</p> <p>All 2016 Outstanding Student Chapter recipients from around the world will be recognized, and the international Petrobowl finals held, during SPE’s Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) in Dubai 26-28 Sept.</p> <p>The prestigious Outstanding Student Chapter award recognizes SPE student chapters with exceptional programs in industry engagement, operations and planning, community involvement, professional development and innovation.</p> <p>Elsiddig Elhafyan, a Class of 2016 petroleum engineering graduate of Texas A&amp;M at Qatar, served as president of the SPE student chapter during academic year 2015-2016. He said winning the award in 2015 was a surprise that raised expectations for his own term as president. But with about 80 members last year, Elhafyan said he believes a large part of the chapter’s success is being part of such a close-knit community, especially with an active student body and outstanding support from the petroleum engineering faculty.</p> <p>“I honestly believe the fact that we have a smaller university helps our chapter be as successful as it is,” he said. “We try to be as involved as we can with the university and with students. SPE is an organization not only for petroleum engineers; anyone who wants to work in the oil and gas industry can be in SPE. And with a small campus, we have a smaller community, therefore connections really matter. We can reach out quicker for events, we can reach out quicker to our members. It’s easy to promote our events to the campus community so we have big turnouts for our events.”</p> <p>In 2015-2016, those events included the networking-oriented SPE Week, which allowed SPE student members from Texas A&amp;M at Qatar to interact with young professionals in the Qatar SPE section. The students also hosted a lecture series featuring professionals working in industry, as well as a Saturday workshop on Intelligent Fields, organized by the Dutch oil and gas company TNO. All the organizations activities last year were sponsored by Oxy.</p> <p>Texas A&amp;M at Qatar places great emphasis on involvement in student organizations such as SPE, which gives students experience in leadership, management and planning, essential skills needed for success in the workplace. The branch campus also encourages students to participate in international competitions and conferences, such as Petrobowl.</p> <p>Elhafyan, who has also participated on Texas A&amp;M at Qatar’s Petrobowl team, said the international experience of competing has allowed them to represent the branch campus and its values on the world stage.</p> <p>“We really do wear the Aggie name with pride and we really do try to represent the university as best we can. The international experience of Petrobowl is a challenge because we are competing with universities that are more established than us, because Texas A&amp;M at Qatar is quite a new institution. But so far we have been doing well so we’re pretty happy about that.”</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/texas-am-at-qatar-spe-chapter-named-outstanding-student-chapter-for-second-year-in-a-row http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/texas-am-at-qatar-spe-chapter-named-outstanding-student-chapter-for-second-year-in-a-row Wed, 29 Jun 2016 00:00:00 CST Bazzi receives second U.S. patent for Texas A&M at Qatar for novel catalyst Lesley Kriewald <lesleyk@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/bazzi-receives-second-us-patent-for-texas-am-at-qatar-for-novel-catalyst <p>Dr. Hassan S. Bazzi, professor of chemistry and assistant dean for research at Texas A&amp;M University at Qatar, has received a U.S. patent for a catalyst that makes a widely used type of chemical reaction more efficient.</p> <p>The patent is the second patent issued that involves Texas A&amp;M at Qatar faculty. Bazzi developed the catalyst in collaboration with Dr. Dave Bergbreiter, professor in the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&amp;M’s main campus in College Station, Texas, USA.</p> <p>Bazzi and Bergbreiter began working together in summer 2006 on the catalyst, a molecule that kickstarts a chemical reaction. In this case, that chemical reaction was metathesis, which is a type of catalysis used in chemistry to make small molecules or chains of molecules called polymers. Metathesis is an important chemical reaction involving carbon-carbon double bonds that can be used to make cyclic compounds, which are very important in pharmaceuticals and in building polymers, Bazzi said.</p> <p>“The importance of metathesis is that it builds on building double bonds,” he said. “It’s like Legos, you’re having building blocks coming together. Once you form the polymers, the polymers can have several applications and there are applications in industry, such as in coatings, in bulletproof windows, even water-soluble polymers. The field is huge.”</p> <p>Metathesis has garnered so much attention in the past two decades after three people — Robert H. Grubbs from Caltech (who is also an adjunct professor of chemistry at Texas A&amp;M at Qatar), Richard Schrock from MIT and Yves Chauvin from France — were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2005 for making metathesis into one of organic chemistry’s most important reactions.</p> <p>The problem with metathesis, though, is that a small amount of the metal-based catalyst remains in the end product. In the pharmaceutical industry, for example, you don’t want patients ingesting the metal left in the drug. In other applications, such as materials, the metal in the polymer may color the material or alter its properties. Bazzi said he and Bergbreiter decided to try to modify the ruthenium-based metathesis catalyst to make the whole catalytic operation more efficient and easier to remove the metal from the final product.</p> <p>“One of the drawbacks of this reaction is the amount of metal that is left in the product,” Bazzi said. “Our example was the first to use a nonpolar tag — a polymer called polyisobutylene — that we attach to the catalyst and then at the end of the reaction we use it as a handle to pull the metal out. And that reduces the metal leaching, or the metal remaining in the product, quite extensively.”</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/bazzi-receives-second-us-patent-for-texas-am-at-qatar-for-novel-catalyst http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/bazzi-receives-second-us-patent-for-texas-am-at-qatar-for-novel-catalyst Wed, 29 Jun 2016 00:00:00 CST Texas A&M at Qatar names Muna Al-Mohannadi first Alumnus of the Year Lesley Kriewald <lesleyk@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/texas-am-at-qatar-names-muna-al-mohannadi-first-alumnus-of-the-year <p>Muna Al-Mohannadi, a senior reservoir engineer in the Reservoir Depletion Studies section of RasGas Company and a Class of 2010 petroleum engineering graduate of Texas A&amp;M University at Qatar, has been named the branch campus’ first-ever Alumnus of the Year.</p> <p>Al-Mohannadi joined RasGas Company’s Reservoir Engineering Section in July 2010 after earning a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from Texas A&amp;M at Qatar. During her first two years at RasGas, she successfully completed rotational assignments in Geoscience &amp; Petrophysics, Production Engineering, Drilling &amp; Completions, and Business Support as part of her development plan. In 2014, she moved into the Reservoir Depletion Studies section to enhance her skills in reservoir modeling.</p> <p>Al-Mohannadi was nominated and chosen for the award for her workplace success and for her contributions to Texas A&amp;M at Qatar. Since graduating from Texas A&amp;M at Qatar, she has been an active and visible member of the local Society of Petroleum Engineers community. She also has been proactively supportive of the petroleum engineering program at Texas A&amp;M at Qatar through her involvement in the Petroleum Engineering Industry Advisory Board, as well as her contributions to senior student design projects and poster presentations. She has been invited to speak at SPE events in the past, has given papers at the annual International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC), and plays an active role in supporting women and their professional development in the region.</p> <p>“I see myself as leading,” she said. “Not a leader just by acting in a leadership role, but by showing other Qatari ladies that if I can do this, they can do this as well. It’s not impossible. I’m lucky to work for a very supportive company, and if you know that what you do is appreciated, you will keep doing it, and that’s key. Qatari ladies—any other ladies—if they see the support, they will rise and they will shine.”</p> <p>Al-Mohannadi was recognized at Texas A&amp;M at Qatar’s alumni suhoor at the Ritz-Carlton Doha on 23 June. More than 150 faculty, staff and former students of Texas A&amp;M at Qatar attended the event, which aimed to encourage graduates to connect and stay involved with the branch campus.</p> <p>Interim dean Dr. Ann L. Kenimer congratulated former students on being fine examples of Texas A&amp;M at Qatar.</p> <p>“Aggie engineers are uniquely positioned to help Qatar achieve the goals set out in the Qatar National Vision 2030,” Kenimer said. “Aggie engineers are starting businesses, breaking down gender barriers, developing the sustainable technologies of the future, devoting themselves to community service, and so much more. We celebrate each and every one of your successes as you work to make a difference in Qatar and around the world.”</p> <p>Organized in collaboration with the Texas A&amp;M at Qatar Alumni Council, the alumni suhoor also focused on the newly established Al Shaheen Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to students studying at Texas A&amp;M at Qatar. This scholarship fund creates an opportunity for current and former employees of the Qatar campus — as well as former students — to contribute directly to the education of young people in Qatar.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/texas-am-at-qatar-names-muna-al-mohannadi-first-alumnus-of-the-year http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/texas-am-at-qatar-names-muna-al-mohannadi-first-alumnus-of-the-year Wed, 29 Jun 2016 00:00:00 CST Program of Electronic Systems Engineering Technology students recognized for outstanding achievements Lorian Hopcus <lorian.hopcus@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/program-of-electronic-systems-engineering-technology-students-recognized-for-outstanding-achievements <p>The Electronic Systems Engineering Technology program in the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&amp;M University recognizes three students for their outstanding achievements.</p> <p>Odera Eneugwu, Arman Gonzalez and Francis Nguyen were selected as recipients of the Safety Engineering Certificate from the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center.</p> <p>The certificate prepares students for positions in several areas of safety engineering that will enhance their qualifications as they begin their careers.</p> <p>“These students excelled beyond their required course load and are the first students in the program to receive this certification,” said Wei Zhan, electronic systems engineering technology program coordinator and associate professor in the department. “We congratulate Odera, Arman and Francis for their efforts to acquire this certification.”</p> <p><img src="/media/3732031/img_3657-web.jpg" width="143" height="232" src="/media/3732031/img_3657-web.jpg" alt="Odera Eneugwu" class="leftalign"/><img src="/media/3732030/img_3652-web.jpg" width="192" height="232" src="/media/3732030/img_3652-web.jpg" alt="Arman Gonzalez" class="leftalign"/><img src="/media/3732032/img_3660-web.jpg" width="165" height="232" src="/media/3732032/img_3660-web.jpg" alt="Francis Nguyen"/><br /><br /></p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/program-of-electronic-systems-engineering-technology-students-recognized-for-outstanding-achievements http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/program-of-electronic-systems-engineering-technology-students-recognized-for-outstanding-achievements Wed, 29 Jun 2016 00:00:00 CST Aggie engineer part of NASA’s Juno mission set to arrive at Jupiter Aubrey Bloom <abloom@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/aggie-engineer-part-of-nasas-juno-mission-set-to-arrive-at-jupiter <p><img width="185" height="278" src="/media/3732025/kayali-1-_185x278.jpg" alt="Kayali" class="leftalign"/>While families across the United States are celebrating the Fourth of July, NASA will be playing its own version of catch in the cosmic backyard, and an Aggie is playing a critical role in the mission.</p> <p>If all goes as planned, NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which is about the size of a basketball court and launched almost five years ago on August 5, 2011, will complete its Jupiter orbital insertion maneuver at about 10:30 p.m. CST on Monday, locking Juno into orbit around the solar system’s largest planet.</p> <p>Sammy Kayali, Texas A&amp;M class of ’87 in electrical engineering and a mission assurance manager for Juno at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), said this is an exciting week after almost a decade of preparation.</p> <p><img width="288" height="360" src="/media/3732024/juno-launch-8-5-2011-1-.jpg" alt="Juno Launch" class="rightalign"/>“Most of us here have been working on this for quite a while,” he said. “We launched it in 2011 (pictured right), and it’s taken five years to get there. We worked on it for five years before that, so it’s been 10 years since we really got started on this mission. We’re really excited.”</p> <p>Kayali’s role as a mission assurance manager is to ensure all of the different parts of the spacecraft pass the requirements of the mission and don’t introduce any additional risk. He and his colleagues review and test the designs to make sure mission objective and science goals are met.</p> <p>It’s an important role on any mission, but particularly this one because of some of the challenges that Jupiter poses to incoming spacecraft. Most obviously, Jupiter is a long way from Earth. So far, that Juno’s radio signal takes 48 minutes to arrive on Earth. If anything in the system goes wrong, there will be nothing anyone on the ground can do about it.</p> <p>“The biggest challenge to this mission is the radiation environment at Jupiter,” he said. “It’s a massive planet with a very prominent magnetic field. The radiation environment is orders of magnitude higher than we’ve seen on any mission in the past. It’s like having to survive through a nuclear blast.”</p> <p>On the surface, getting into orbit around a planet that has 67 moons might not seem that difficult, but it isn’t quite as simple as just getting close.</p> <p>“The spacecraft has to do a lot of things in preparation of the Jupiter orbit insertion maneuver,” Kayali said. “It has to slow down to a speed that allows it to be captured by Jupiter’s gravity field. From there it will orbit Jupiter for a little over a year and collect a lot of meaningful science that will help us understand the origin of the planet and the solar system. The weather patterns on Jupiter have a lot in common with the weather patterns on Earth, so there’s a lot of exciting science to understand and benefit from in the future.”</p> <p>The mission aims to answer a number of questions about the massive planet, including what exactly is hiding beneath its swirling clouds. That question is actually how the mission got its name. According to Roman mythology, Jupiter used clouds in order to hide when he was causing trouble, but his wife Juno was able to see through them.</p> <p>As a NASA mission, Juno is an American spacecraft, and Kayali said that having such a critical part of the mission come on the Fourth of July is special, but also emphasized the international cooperation that it takes for such a mission.</p> <p>“There are contributions from all over the world,” he said. “We have scientists involved from England, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and all over the world, essentially. A number of contributions came from foreign countries, so this is really an international mission that shows you how scientists can work together regardless of nationalities and borders.”</p> <p>Before attending Texas A&amp;M, Kayali grew up in Houston, and also holds a degree from Sam Houston State University. He said he’s far from the only person from the Lone Star State working at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California.</p> <p>“I certainly enjoyed my time at A&amp;M. I had an excellent education and I’m very proud to be an Aggie. There are a few Texas Aggies here, and there are also a few UT graduates and some other alumni of Texas schools. At the JPL they recognize the education system in Texas is very good. It’s a place we continue to recruit from and get great candidates. It’s always good to have people who know what the history is all about in Aggieland.”</p> <p>For more information on Juno, check out the mission website: <a href="https://www.missionjuno.swri.edu/">https://www.missionjuno.swri.edu/</a></p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/aggie-engineer-part-of-nasas-juno-mission-set-to-arrive-at-jupiter http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/aggie-engineer-part-of-nasas-juno-mission-set-to-arrive-at-jupiter Wed, 29 Jun 2016 00:00:00 CST Researchers in electrical and computer engineering receive award for brain-inspired computing Donald St. Martin <dstmartin@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/researchers-in-electrical-and-computer-engineering-receive-award-for-brain-inspired-computing <p><img width="175" height="233" src="/media/1462021/li_175x233.jpg" alt="Li" class="leftalign"/>Two graduate students and their adviser in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University received the Honorary Mention Best Paper Award from the 2016 IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS).</p> <p>Qian Wang, Youjie Li and their thesis adviser, Dr. Peng Li, received the award for their paper titled, “Liquid state machine based pattern recognition on FPGA with firing-activity dependent power gating and approximate computing,” at ISCAS, which was held in Montreal, Canada. This award was conferred by the Neural Systems and Applications Technical Committee of IEEE Circuits and Systems (CAS) Society.</p> <p>For a very long time, the human brain has been a great inspiration for building efficient intelligent systems. Nevertheless, mimicking the information processing capabilities of the brain in VLSI-based computing systems is a completely nontrivial task and entails the development of efficient processor architectures and hardware-friendly learning mechanisms. The researchers’ paper demonstrates how the liquid state machine (LSM), a biologically plausible recurrent spiking neural network model, can be used to enable brain-inspired neural processors. An LSM processor architecture with integrated on-chip learning capability has been demonstrated on the reconfigurable FPGA platform for pattern and speech recognition applications. This work also investigates novel firing activity-based low power and approximate computing techniques to boost system energy efficiency.</p> <p>Wang and Li are part of Dr. Li’s research group, and have recently passed their Ph.D. and M.S. thesis defenses, respectively. Dr. Li is a professor in the department, a faculty member of the Texas A&amp;M Institute for Neuroscience and Texas A&amp;M Health Science Center, and an IEEE Fellow. In addition to this award, Dr. Li has received five other best paper awards from premier IEEE/ACM conferences.</p> <p>ISCAS is the world’s premier networking forum of leading researchers in the highly active fields of theory, design and implementation of circuits and systems.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/researchers-in-electrical-and-computer-engineering-receive-award-for-brain-inspired-computing http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/researchers-in-electrical-and-computer-engineering-receive-award-for-brain-inspired-computing Wed, 29 Jun 2016 00:00:00 CST Randall receives WEDA 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award Haley Posey http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/randall-receives-weda-2016-lifetime-achievement-award <p><img width="210" height="270" src="/media/2734654/image-of-robert-randall.jpg" alt="Randall, Robert" class="leftalign"/>Dr. Robert E. Randall has been honored with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award by Western Dredging Association (WEDA) for his service to the dredging and marine industry for more than 50 years. Randall is the W. H. Bauer Professor in Dredging Engineering and director of the Center for Dredging Studies in the Department of Ocean Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University,</p> <p>WEDA is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental awareness, technological applications and efficiency in the marine and dredging industry.</p> <p>“Dr. Randall has made available information of far reaching consequences in the areas of navigation, dredging, beneficial uses of dredged material, capping and marine construction to the dredging industry,” said Dr. Ram Mohan, president and chair of WEDA. “He is an internationally recognized authority in dredging and marine engineering.”</p> <p>Randall began his career in the marine industry as a submarine officer serving the United States Navy. From there he earned his M.S. and Ph. D. in ocean engineering from the University of Rhode Island. He worked at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, a private oceanographic institution, before starting his academic career at Texas A&amp;M in 1975.</p> <p>Over the years, Randall has taught courses such as Ocean Engineering Design, Underwater Systems and Mooring Design, Underwater Acoustics and Marine Dredging.</p> <p>He has been a member of WEDA’s board of directors and editor of the organization’s annual conference proceedings since 1994. He is also an associate editor of WEDA’s <i>Journal of Dredging Engineering</i> since its initiation in 1999, and has contributed to the journal actively.</p> <p>“The entire worldwide dredging industry is thankful to Dr. Randall,” said Mohan. “Dr. Randall’s unselfish ability to share insights in dredging and marine engineering has been of tremendous value to not only members of WEDA, but also to dredgers and engineers worldwide.”</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/randall-receives-weda-2016-lifetime-achievement-award http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/29/randall-receives-weda-2016-lifetime-achievement-award Wed, 29 Jun 2016 00:00:00 CST Barrufet appointed to Council for Academic Technology and Innovative Education Nancy Luedke <> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/28/barrufet-appointed-to-council-for-academic-technology-and-innovative-education <p><img width="195" height="250" src="/media/577919/barrufet_maria_2011_195x250.jpg" alt="Image-of-Barrufet,-Maria-A." style="float: right;"/>Dr. Maria Barrufet, professor and director of distance learning in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University, was recently appointed to the Council for Academic Technology and Innovative Education (CATIE). She is one of 32 members named by Texas A&amp;M Provost Karan Watson. All members are currently employed by The Texas A&amp;M University System. Barrufet is one of two members from Texas A&amp;M in College Station, Texas. She will serve a three-year term.</p> <p>The purpose of CATIE is to support the education mission of system members in technology use when designing, developing, delivering and assessing courses and programs. It advises the vice chancellor for academic affairs and works in close collaboration with other system-level councils and committees to ensure all academic technology needs are met.</p> <p>Barrufet is familiar with the use of technology in education, as she oversees the largest distance learning program within the college of engineering. The program uses remote logins, recorded live lectures for video streaming, recorded PowerPoint presentations, downloaded Smart Board notes and document annotations, and a range of other venues to provide 24 hour access. This allows students from all over the world the opportunity to pursue a Masters of Engineering degree in petroleum engineering. The students work at the same pace and use the same curriculum as students on campus, with the exception of lab work and thesis requirements.</p> <p>Barrufet began her CATIE appointment by attending the Chancellor’s Summit on Academic Technology (CSAT) on June 22-23 at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center in College Station. </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/28/barrufet-appointed-to-council-for-academic-technology-and-innovative-education http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/28/barrufet-appointed-to-council-for-academic-technology-and-innovative-education Tue, 28 Jun 2016 00:00:00 CST Nuclear students conduct educational, cultural exchange at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi Robert (Chris) Scoggins <rcscoggins@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/28/nuclear-students-conduct-educational-cultural-exchange-at-khalifa-university-in-abu-dhabi <p><img width="700" height="467" src="/media/3731993/dsc_2635_700x467.jpg" alt="UAE"/></p> <p>Students from the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University returned from a two and a half week trip to Khalifa University within United Arab Emirates (UAE), participating in a study abroad program that is designed to both educate students on the technical aspects of global nuclear energy while immersing the students in the culture and lifestyle of the city of Abu Dhabi and its people.</p> <p>“This trip has opened my eyes to what is out there in the world,” nuclear engineering student Arturo Cabral said. “I would encourage students to go. The people you meet are unique, and I feel that is how you learn from different cultures, by talking to them. The places we saw took my breath away with the different types of architecture and landscapes and the class itself was really helpful.”</p> <p>In addition to the students’ coursework instructing them on nuclear energy systems, methods of system design and safety considerations, students also toured the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi as well as participating in a desert safari and touring the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant. Assistant Professor Dr. Mark Kimber, who traveled with the students, said the students were able to take more than just an educational experience away from the classroom.</p> <p>“Many of our students have never been outside the United States and many of them have never even been outside the state of Texas,” Kimber said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity just to experience another culture regardless of what the instruction might be.”</p> <p><img width="361" height="270" src="/media/3731994/img_20160530_183303_361x270.jpg" alt="UAE 2" class="leftalign" style="float: left;"/></p> <p>A strong relationship between Texas A&amp;M and Khalifa University has allowed the department to collaborate with their nuclear engineering department to provide working knowledge regarding nuclear engineering concepts and writing joint research proposals. The department faculty have also assisted the Texas A&amp;M’s Nuclear Security Science and Policy Institute (NSSPI), Khalifa University, and Sandia National Laboratories (under the guidance and support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and the U.S. State Department’s Partnership for Nuclear Security Program Office) in establishing the Gulf Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Institute (GNEII). The mission of this internationally-recognized, regional institute is to immerse future Emirati nuclear program decision makers in safety, safeguards, security, and nonproliferation concepts and to familiarize them with how these concepts apply in a regional and international context.</p> <p>Initatives like NSSPI's GNEII and the department's collaborative efforts with Khalifa University serve as important educational tools for establishing nuclear power capabilities in countries seeking to enter the nuclear industry. These also provide a knowledge base to countries like the UAE, whose four pressurized water reactors at Barakah Nuclear Power Plant are part of a newcomer nuclear program that will be operated by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation beginning in 2017.  This newcomer nuclear build is the first program build to be completed in more than 30 years, since China embarked on its own nuclear power program.</p> <p>According to Kimber, for this reason such global experiences are important to students of any engineering discipline because many engineering endeavors extend beyond national borders. Experiences such as this study abroad allow students to understand and experience the social differences of cultures firsthand and prepare them for the possibility of working internationally.</p> <p>“It is important for anyone in an industry that is globally extended to appreciate the nuances of the culture, to what is important and even things such as the proper greeting,” Kimber said. That's a huge foot in the door and being culturally aware of things like that is a huge benefit.”</p> <p><img width="348" height="261" src="/media/3731995/img_20160615_052214_01_348x261.jpg" alt="UAE 3" class="rightalign" style="float: right;"/>11 students shared their coursework with four students from Khalifa University and were able to interact with them on a personal level. One of the students from Khalifa University invited the Texas A&amp;M students and Kimber into her home, a rare experience that according to Kimber, showed him and the students the emphasis on family within the Emirati culture.</p> <p>“To give you an appreciation for how rare this is, most of the expatriates who have been living there for six or seven years have never once been in the home of an Emirati,” Kimber said. “They prepared food for us and we got to see firsthand what the culture looks like: mainly the overwhelming emphasis on family.”</p> <p>The students and faculty who took part in the trip all agreed that the experience was educationally beneficial, but was heavily enriched by the cultural experiences they took part in.</p> <p>“It’s a once in a lifetime experience,” nuclear engineering student Tiffany Lee said. “Not that I wouldn't go back, but everything is just so amazing. I think this trip has helped me appreciate more how different cultures live and to be more open minded about their lifestyle.”</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/28/nuclear-students-conduct-educational-cultural-exchange-at-khalifa-university-in-abu-dhabi http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/06/28/nuclear-students-conduct-educational-cultural-exchange-at-khalifa-university-in-abu-dhabi Tue, 28 Jun 2016 00:00:00 CST