SEI students present team projects to NASA, industry mentors

December 18, 2009
| By: Aubrey Bloom

Seven teams from the Space Engineering Institute (SEI) presented their Fall 2009 NASA projects in November to engineering mentors from NASA Johnson Space Center.

SEI is established under the TEES Space Engineering Research Center (SERC), http://serc.tamu.edu.

Five of the presenting SEI teams (Advanced Antenna, Space Based Solar Power, Integrated Thermal Management System, Smart Materials for Robotic Space Applications and Urine Pretreatment) come from the main Texas A&M campus. Two of the teams (Mechanical Battery and Space Laundry) came from Texas A&M-Kingsville and one SEI team (Radiation Sensors) came from Prairie View A&M University.

The program included 10-minute presentations from each student team and individual team meetings with the NASA sponsor to discuss the details for the Spring 2010 projects. In addition, Dr. Kam Lulla, JSC deputy manager for University Research and Affairs, gave a keynote speech, "Engineer 2020."

Since that event, three other SEI teams have presented their end-of-semester work to their sponsors. These are the SEI-South Texas Project team funded by the Nuclear Power Institute, the Thermal Management of Satellites team sponsored by the U.S. Air Force, and the Unmanned Air Vehicles Team funded by Boeing.

SEI currently has 60 undergraduate students and graduate student mentors representing nine engineering departments on the main Texas A&M campus. In addition, 30 more students from three other campuses (Texas A&M-Commerce, Texas A&M-Kingsville and PVAMU) are also participating in the SEI.

SEI was established in 2002 to engage undergraduate students in interdisciplinary and multilevel team projects with mentors from NASA and industry to improve student retention in engineering and enhance their engineering skills to meet the needs of the U.S. workforce. Since 2002, more than 75 percent of entering freshman who participate in SEI have graduated with an engineering degree, which is about 50 percent higher than the national retention average. In addition, more than 20 percent of SEI students pursue advanced degrees.

For more information on the Space Engineering Institute (SEI) and current projects, please visit http://sei.tamu.edu or e-mail Director Magda Lagoudas at m-lagoudas@tamu.edu.

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