Texas A&M University-Kingsville

A&M-Kingsville research center only one of six locations nationally to host National Science Foundation semina

KINGSVILLE - December 11, 2006


KINGSVILLE (December 11, 2006) — A successful, federally funded program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville shared its story with other Texas institutions looking to mirror its accomplishments.

The program is the Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST), designed specifically for minority-serving institutions to enhance their research abilities and address the significant under-representation of minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Its funding organization, the National Science Foundation (NSF), asked A&M-Kingsville to be one of just six CREST sites to host a proposal preparation seminar that happened on Friday, Dec. 1, for colleges and universities interested in adding a CREST to their campus.

Specifically, the workshop focused on the mechanisms of developing a successful center level proposal and assessing the strengths of an existing CREST at the workshop site.

Texas A&M-Kingsville has had their CREST for the last four years, which goes specifically by CREST-Research on Environmental Sustainability of Semi-Arid Coastal Areas (RESSACA).

According to Dr. Kuruvilla John, director of CREST-RESSACA and associate dean of the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering, more than 20 attendees came to the workshop, moderated by Dr. James Powlik from the NSF. Powlik also offered an overview of recent changes at the NSF and spoke with John and other A&M-Kingsville faculty and staff regarding NSF program opportunities at a luncheon hosted by the College of Engineering.

“It was an honor to be chosen as one of six sites in the nation at which the NSF was conducting similar CREST related workshops,” said John.

“As per NSF, the site selection was based on applicant interest from each region, coupled with the availability of a successful CREST site within the region. CREST-RESSACA at Texas A&M-Kingsville was noted to be a successful program and we were allowed to showcase our strengths and successes. This was a primary reason why we hosted this workshop.”

As of July of this year, CREST-RESSACA has supported 10 Ph.D. and 9 M.S. students. In addition, 33 undergraduate students were encouraged to pursue research opportunities at A&M-Kingsville. The first cohort of graduate students received their M.S. degrees in 2004 and 2005, while the first three Ph.D. students graduated in 2006. Faculty and students have published over 40 technical articles in peer-reviewed journals. Several students have received awards for poster and paper presentations in prestigious regional and national conferences.  In addition, faculty members have served on editorial boards of several prestigious journals and as session chairs of national and international conferences.    

“The participants had an opportunity to learn from our successes and challenges of being a CREST for the past 4 years,” said John. “The attendees also learned about all the recent changes at NSF and the ‘dos and don’ts’ of developing a successful center proposal.  Developing and maintaining a successful center such as CREST-RESSACA at A&M-Kingsville is a huge undertaking and I hope that all participants developed an appreciation for this.”

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