College of Science

Aktosun helps UTA secure $1.4 million in GAANN funding

Tuncay Aktosun, professor of mathematics, has helped UT Arlington secure nearly $1.47 million in federal grants to help qualified graduate students earn their doctoral degrees in areas of national need.

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need, or GAANN, grants of $533,064 to the UT Arlington College of Science's Department of Mathematics and the College of Engineering's Computer Science & Engineering Department. The College of Engineering's Bioengineering Department also received a $399,798 GAANN grant.

Each grant can potentially benefit 20 students during the next three years. It is the third consecutive GAAAN grant for the Department of Mathematics.

"We are excited that the Math Department has received our third consecutive GAANN fellowship award from the Department of Education," said Jianzhong Su, professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics. "It speaks volumes of the Math Ph.D. program's quality and our success in the mentoring of U.S. Ph.D. students, particularly students from underrepresented minority groups.

"The past two GAANN grants in math have been supporting over 25 Ph.D. students since 2006, and have allowed us to double our number of Ph.D. students. The numbers of women and minority students have also increased four-fold and eight-fold after receiving the GAANN grant support. Some GAANN fellows have already completed their Ph.D.s and some are near the final stages of their dissertations. Dr. Meri Hughes, a former GAANN fellow, now serves as chairperson at the Math Department at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Many other former GAANN students also have flourished in their professional careers."

Joining Aktosun as principal investigators are Khosrow Behbehani, bioengineering chair and professor; and Gergely Zaruba, associate professor of computer science & engineering.

Philip Cohen, graduate school dean and co-principal investigator on the grants, said the program will allow UT Arlington to recruit more doctoral students in these areas of high national demand.

"The grants also contribute to our efforts to improve doctoral education," Cohen said.

Joining Cohen as co-principal investigators of the grants are Jianzhong Su; David Jorgensen, associate professor of mathematics; and Ruth Gornet, associate professor of mathematics.
Aktosun Gornet
Jorgensen Su
College of Science Dean Pamela Jansma said the grants are important because mathematics is an integral link to so many other studies.

"Assuring more doctoral students in math contributes to success in many other disciplines, as well as the overall University," Jansma said.

College of Engineering Dean J.P. Bardet said there is a growing interest in computer science and bioengineering across the nation.

"Recruiting more graduate students in those areas is beneficial for research that will transform the healthcare of present and future generations," he said.

All the departments are working in partnership with the Office of Graduate Studies to develop common recruiting and retention activities for the GAANN fellows that are designed to address the unique needs of underrepresented and first-generation college students.

"I appreciate the hard work of the PI team, including Dr. Aktosun (PI), Dr. Jorgensen (co-PI), and Dr. Gornet (co-PI)," Su said "Former Math Department chair Dr. Jianping Zhu was also very much involved in the GAANN program before he left to become graduate school dean in Cleveland. Dr. Cohen and Dean Jansma have been extremely supportive of the Math GAANN program, and are truly instrumental in leading the efforts in building the University-wide and College of Science GAANN programs."

For more information on the GAANN Fellowship Program, click here or call Alisa Johnson in the Office of Graduate Studies at 817-272-2708.

Posted November 7, 2012