Honors College Senior Dinner
Seven proud Honors College Seniors and their families were treated to a formal dinner for their achievements before graduation last semester. The students are (l to r): Tony Nguyen, Ayomide Long, Sara Wadud, Maureen Edobor, lse Gonzalez Castillo, Norma Ghanem, and Stephanie Quirino.
John Gurak
It's Not Easy Being Green
          It is, however, quite rewarding and well worth the effort when you are recognized by the EPA for work in the field of "green chemistry."  Fewer than three dozen scholars nationwide have been awarded the National Center for Environmental Research's two-year fellowship, and that's what UT Arlington Honors College Junior John Gurak has achieved. Fifty-thousand dollars is the kind of green that will support his environmental research efforts for the next two years. 
          Working with Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Frank Foss, John has adapted vitamin B2, otherwise known as riboflavin, as a metal-free catalyst in oxidative reactions. Such reactions can create heterocyclic compounds for use in pharmaceutical, and industrial materials. The 'green' part is that this catalyst is environmentally friendly and cost-efficient. 
          The Environmental Protection Agency’s National Center for Environmental Research will fund John's tuition, books, lab supplies, travel to conferences and additional expenses to aid in his research over the next two years with this fellowship.
          Rasika Dias, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has high praise for John and his achievements. He considers John to be one of the brightest undergraduates in the department. John has already been published in the American Chemical Society journal Langmuir, has received several UT Arlington scholarships, and serves as a residential assistant at the Welch Summer Scholar Program for high school students interested in scientific research. 
          UT encourages undergraduate research, and students like John Gurak are making a difference early on. He sees growing opportunities in environmentally friendly and sustainable chemistry.   
          Ezgihan "Izzy" Baydar, a UT Arlington second-year Aerospace Engineering doctoral student and Honors College alumna, has been awarded a prestigious NASA Harriet G. Jenkins Pre-doctoral Fellowship that will allow her to pursue her research on efficient jet engines.
          Ms. Baydar's and her advisor, Dr. Frank Lu, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, were awarded the three-year fellowship that provides $135,000 in funding and includes summer internships at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
          Izzy has been interested in math and science from her days at Flower Mound High School, from which she graduated in 2008. “Since childhood, I have been fascinated by everything related to space: films, documentaries, and books. I’ve always dreamed of joining the NASA team as an astronaut or scientist,” Baydar said. “Now, I have that opportunity, and I’m still a student.” 
          Professor Lu, who is also the director of the UT Arlington Aerodynamics Research Center, describes Baydar as a dedicated and hard-working student who is likely to go far based on the research she already has undertaken.  Baydar has done research with UT Arlington Mathematics Professor Tuncay Aktosun, and interned one summer at Los Alamos National Laboratories.  “Izzy learns quickly. Her work in mathematics will serve her well in aerospace engineering,” Lu says. “It’s a nice fit, which benefits her and is great for this university.”
          According to Baydar, her goal ever since she enrolled at UT Arlington has been "to combine something that took advantage of my love of math and science. Aerospace engineering fits those interests well and it combines math, mechanical engineering, avionics, and engine design.” UT Arlington’s aerospace engineering bachelor’s-to-PhD program appealed to her because of the undergraduate research opportunities it provides.
          Since 2001, the NASA Harriett G. Jenkins Graduate Fellowship Program has supported 211 students as they earned masters’ and doctoral degrees. This graduate fellowship supports students who aspire to join the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workforce by funding the graduate work of underrepresented and underserved people, including women, minorities, and persons with disabilities. The goal of this program is to address NASA’s mission-specific workforce needs and target areas of national need in minority STEM representation.
          The work of Lu and Baydar at NASA will focus on making air intakes more efficient in jet engines. “We want to make more modern designs for these air inlets,” Baydar says. “We want them to be able to perform better at speeds between Mach 1 and Mach 2.” Izzy is fast becoming a world-class space engineer. 

L to R: Raza Khan, John Black, Rebecah Karth, Zach Hughes and Narendra Nath De
    Purdue Mavericks
           Recent Honors College graduates have reunited in their various graduate programs at Purdue.
by Rebecah Karth
            Honors College students at the University of Texas at Arlington enjoy the camaraderie that they have with fellow students during their years as undergraduates. Upon graduation, students go on to other endeavors and might not get the chance to interact with fellow alumni as often as they would like.  One group of students, however, is having a very different experience. Currently, four Honors College students are studying engineering at the graduate level at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Of these, two have been at Purdue since 2012: John Black (aeronautics and astronautics) and Raza Khan (electrical and computer engineering). The other two, Narendra Nath De (aeronautics and astronautics) and Zach Hughes (electrical and computer engineering), came to Purdue in Fall 2013. 
            The decision to attend Purdue was made easier for De, thanks to “knowing that other Honors students were already there.” Building a sense of community can be an important aspect of the education of Honors grads, as community is something that many students cherish about their time at UT Arlington. Getting the chance to meet more people in disciplines outside of engineering, however, is something that Hughes said he misses as a graduate student, since he now spends so much time exclusively in engineering.
            There are benefits to a focused  graduate education, however. Black said he is now getting the opportunity to work with very specialized equipment in his research lab, equipment that is not found at any other university. Specialization also means higher standards for student work as students make progress in their graduate studies. Hughes appreciates the standards at Purdue, noting that “there is a much higher expectation of personal competency in scholarship, which includes excellence in both research and class projects.”
            Class projects and laboratory time are not the only ways that these students have found to occupy their time at Purdue. Besides attending football games at Ross Ade Stadium and exploring their new home turf, this group of students has gotten together to hear several astronauts and scientists come to speak, including Buzz Aldrin. The lineup of speakers at Purdue has a strong emphasis on science and engineering, which is no surprise given the participation of Purdue in the development of the space program. Purdue has been called the cradle of astronauts owing to the fact that 23 of its alumni have served in that rarefied and elite group, including Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. 
                         Spring 2014 Honors College Events
   January 29th             Study Abroad Fair (Bluebonnet, UC)
   February 5th              HCC General Body Meeting (Noon, CH106)
   February 19th            HCC General Body Meeting (Noon, CH106)
   February 21st            Honors College Colloquium in Reading Room (Noon)
   February 22-23rd      ROAD TRIP to Little Rock, AR (UTA Stadium 8 a.m.)
   March 5th                   HCC General Body Meeting (Noon, CH106)
   March 22nd               Visit to Perot Museum
   March 21st                 Honors College Colloquium in Reading Room (Noon)
   March 26th                 HCC General Body Meeting (Noon, CH106)
   March 26-27              ACES (Annual Celebration of Excelence by Students)
   April 4th                      Scholarship Dinner (6:30-9:00 p.m., UC)
   April 9th                      HCC General Body Meeting (Noon, CH106)
   April 11th                    HURCA (1-5 p.m., UC)
   April 18th                    Honors College Colloquium in Reading Room (Noon)
   April 23rd                    HCC Last General Body Meeting  (Noon, CH106)
   April 24th                    Senior Dinner/Spring Reception (6-9 p.m., Bluebonnet, UC)
Bayeux Cathedral
Honors Study Abroad for Summer I, 2014: France.
          Two lower-level courses will be offered: Archaeology and Early History of France, taught by Honors Dean Karl Petruso; and Kings, Queens, Saints, and Sinners, taught by Prof. Kimberly van Noort. Neither course has prerequisites. There will be extensive in-country travel (overnights in Paris, Arles, Sarlat, Nantes, Rennes, and Bayeux). The itinerary includes visits to caves that contain magnificent painted murals dating to the Paleolithic period; sites of the megalithic, Celtic, and Roman periods; cathedrals and abbeys; chateaux and palaces; and the beaches and nearby cemeteries of the D-Day invasion of June 1944. Honors study abroad programs are distinctive for the amount of travel they require, including much walking and hiking. Classrooms are not used, on the principle that the country itself is the classroom.
       The cost to participants is a reasonable $2300 (including double occupancy hotels, all travel within France, admissions to archaeological and historical sites and museums, two dinners and most breakfasts). Students are responsible for tuition and books, airfare to and from Paris, other meals, and spending money.
       Applications may be downloaded from the Honors website; early submission is highly recommended. Questions may be addressed to Dean Petruso.
   Star Alumna Aims for Stars
         Ya-yu "Monica" Hew
             Recent Honors College Aerospace Engineering alumna Monica Hew, honored as the first winner of the Boeing/Flightglobal Undergraduate Student of the Year Award, now attends Stanford University, where she is pursuing her master's degree. She was recently recognized by Aviation Week Magazine as one of their "Twenty20s." This award, produced in partnership with Raytheon, recognizes the best engineering, math, science, and technology students in the United States.
          Monica worked as an undergraduate researcher in Haiuing Huang's Advanced Sensor Technology Laboratory at UT Arlington. She is working toward fulfilling her dream to become an astronaut. Ms. Hew may very well be following in the giant footprints of Kalpana Chawla and Robert L. Stewart, two fellow UT Arlington College of Engineering alumni who became astronauts.
     The Honors College is pleased to announce its ninth annual spring semester Road Trip. This year’s sojourn will be an overnighter. Our hired coach will depart the UTA Stadium parking lot Saturday, Feb. 22, at 8:00 am for Little Rock, Arkansas. In the afternoon we will visit the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum. On Sunday morning, Feb. 23, we will visit Little Rock Central High School, a designated national historic site, which was the scene in 1957 of one of the major flashpoints in America’s long struggle toward desegregation.
           Honors activities fees will cover students’ travel and lodging (double occupancy). Participants are responsible for their meals.
           Currently enrolled Honors students only are eligible to participate. All seats must be reserved in advance; so early reservation is strongly recommended. A fee of $25 (nonrefundable), which will be put toward your expenses, will guarantee a reservation. A check in that amount, made payable to UT Arlington, should be submitted to Cheryl Gralish in the Dean’s Office. 

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