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Nurturing Brilliance With a Focus on Service

Working side by side with world-renowned professors, UT Arlington graduate students make critical contributions in the laboratory and the community that create a brighter future for all.


Doug Mayfield wanted to make a career change, and he found exactly what he was looking for in UT Arlington's sustainability master's degree program. He was in the first cohort to graduate in August 2011.

"Coming from an architectural background, sustainability manifests itself in all aspects of the business," Mayfield says. "Through the program, I gained insight into the importance of working with stakeholders to effect change, and I got a better idea of the importance of looking at the life cycle of a project as opposed to the urgency to solve an immediate need."

Offered through the School of Urban and Public Affairs at the UT Arlington Fort Worth Center and in Dallas, the program teaches students to understand and measure the social, environmental, and financial components related to sustainability. This brings the big picture of sustainability into sharper focus for the program's graduates.

"The Dallas-Fort Worth area is past the point of needing to make changes so we can sustain ourselves as the population trend continues to increase," Mayfield says. "It's important for us to be the best stewards we can of all of our resources."

Doug Mayfield


Mechanical engineering doctoral student Wei Han's expertise in industrial design, prototyping, and manufacturing has proved to be a perfect fit for the research of Brian Dennis. The mechanical engineering associate professor sought out Han to help him make a smaller blood oxygenating machine.

The device, currently suitcase-sized, helps keep people with respiratory problems alive. Dr. Dennis wants something affordable and portable.  Han says the research is fascinating, especially since it combines mechanical engineering with nanofabrication.

"We want to make this device much smaller," she says. "One prototype is about 50 microns, which can't even be seen by the human eye. We hope it will eventually bypass the human lung."

The instrument would be connected to a blood vessel, steadily providing a patient's blood with new oxygen while disposing of carbon dioxide.

"The research is a bit of a change of directions for me," Han says. "But it's something I've found fascinating. UT Arlington has prepared me for the project."

Wei Han


Sunil Sahi has always been interested in experimental physics, and he strongly believes that science should serve humanity. So he jumped at the chance to take part in the research of physics Associate Professor Wei Chen.

Dr. Chen is the principal investigator on a $1.3 million National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant to develop various nanoparticles for radiation detection. He and his co-principal investigator, physics Professor Andrew Brandt, hope their research will lead to a new type of detector that will reduce the threat of nuclear materials being brought into the country for terrorism.

"What I like about experimental physics is that you can see results quickly," says Sahi, a doctoral student from Nepal. "Within a week you can make a material, test it, and say, 'this has good properties or it does not. This will make a better radiation detector or it won't.' "

He says working in Chen's lab is truly a collaborative experience. Ideas flow back and forth between the professor, post-doctoral researchers, visiting professors, and students.

Sunil Sahi


A variety of stimulating elective courses, rigorous academic requirements, sterling faculty, and renowned guest lecturers are among the reasons Kate Yang chose UT Arlington for her master's degree in architecture. Another is the opportunity to gain practical experience through focused community involvement.

She found this with the Better Block project, a demonstration tool that temporarily revises an urban area to show its potential as a walkable, vibrant neighborhood center. The project acts as a living charrette, where communities actively engage in the complete streets buildout process and develop pop-up businesses.

Assistant Professor Wanda Dye's award-winning Graduate Design Studio was charged with creating a pocket park on a vacant lot at Ross Avenue and Pavillion Street in Dallas. This included coordinating with food vendors, organizations, and volunteers in creating an urban layout for the lot, as well as designing and building 35 benches and tables and a 50-foot by 60-foot shade structure, all out of reclaimed material.

"For students, it's great to be able to rethink the environment that we live in and put our ideas into action," Yang says.

Kate Yang

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