June 23, 2008
and Sara Gaytan are among the hundreds of UTEP
students who will get hands-on research experience
UTEP students Maribel López and Sara Gaytan will spend part of their summer in Paris, France. But the two engineering students won’t be just taking in the sights and enjoying crepes in sidewalk cafés.
López and Gaytan have been invited to participate in research at the Louvre Museum where they will analyze turquoise relics from northern Mexico alongside some of the leading scientists in the world.
While the trip to Paris is a unique opportunity for the two students, they are not the exception at UTEP, where each year hundreds of students are tapped to participate in summer research experiences across the globe.
This summer, for example, groups of students will travel south to Mexico to study health disparities; and others have headed north to Alaska to study the effects of climate change on the Arctic tundra. Others are spending a month in Washington, D.C., filming a documentary on UTEP’s involvement in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival; and others are living in tents while working on an archeological dig at the remote Three Rivers site in New Mexico.
While those experiences certainly sound exotic, no less exciting is the work being done on campus. In the College of Engineering, a group of students is building a prototype of the Chariot, a future NASA lunar rover. In another corner of campus, College of Education students have been developing cross-cultural science and environmental activities for maquila workers and their children.
“Summer is the time when faculty and students take a break from classes and dedicate their effort to research or other scholarly activities,” says Roberto Osegueda, vice president of research and sponsored projects. “These summer opportunities are extremely valuable for the students’ professional development.”
For López, a materials and metallurgical engineering major, the opportunity to combine an amazing trip with a valuable learning experience is perfect.
“The Louvre is the best museum in the world,” she says. “To be accepted to work in a lab in the greatest museum, to get to know the best professionals in this area and to learn to do things a new way is a great opportunity.”