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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M awarded $3 million grant for material science research

Materials+science+grant
Materials science grant

The National Science Foundation initiated a new program to encourage graduate students to perform innovative material science research.
Texas A&M received a $3 million grant to research the design of new materials, sponsored by the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship Program (NRT). This grant will provide up to 40 NRT fellowships for graduate students for a period of up to five years from departments in the College of Engineering and College of Science.
Raymundo Arróyave, associate professor in Material Science and Engineering and the principal investigator for the grant, said this grant will help improve the development and distribution of material science research.
“By combining informatics and design, we believe that we can accelerate the rate of development and improvement of materials technologies,” Arróyave said. “This requires the creation of a new kind of workforce, that is interdisciplinary and that is ready to think outside the box.”
Arróyave said departments gathered to institute curriculum for new interdisciplinary graduate program.
“Together [as] two colleges, six departments and the Center of Teaching Excellence (CTE), we have developed a curriculum that combines highly interdisciplinary technical classes with extensive opportunities for professional development,” Arróyave said.
Debra Fowler, associate director for CTE and co-principal investigator on the grant, said the CTE has a strong ability to develop effective education models and has performed about 15 curriculum redesigns on campus.
“The most rewarding aspect of collaborating on the proposal was that the faculty on the team were receptive to recommendations regarding the curriculum, adding to the success of the initiative,” Fowler said. “We have incorporated many professional skills in the program, new ways of critical thinking and ethical behavior type of skills to support the interdisciplinary work.”
Fowler also said the grant asks two Ph.D. student candidates to analyze the educational impact and success of the grant.
“All grant proposals require an evaluator [to assist] in determining the level of success in accomplishing what the proposal asserted to accomplish” Fowler said. “Bringing an educational expert to the table, allowed us to study the influence of the experience on student learning, and influence of the faculty regarding that learning.”
Anish Patel, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemical Engineering and a NRT fellow, said he was encouraged to apply for the program because of the unique opportunity to expand his knowledge in material science.
“They have a focus on interdisciplinarity, which is something not common in graduate education,” Patel said. “I have always been interested in learning about other disciplines. This program gave me the perfect opportunity for that.”

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