Faculty Highlights

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July, 12, 2023

Dr. Racelis: A Pioneer in Sustainable Agriculture

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With a passion for sustainable farming, Dr. Alexis Racelis, an associate professor of agroecology here at UTRGV, is working with local farmers to combat the challenges posed by climate change in the Rio Grande Valley. As extreme heat and water scarcity threaten the region's agriculture, Dr. Racelis is leading efforts to develop innovative techniques for growing food with limited water and reducing reliance on conventional farming practices. His dedication to a resilient and sustainable future is truly inspiring!



May, 8, 2023

UTRGV’s Feria named to UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers

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The University of Texas System recently announced that UTRGV’s Dr. Teresa Patricia (Paty) Feria-Arroyo is one of four new inductees into the esteemed UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers for 2023. Feria, a professor of Biology in the UTRGV College of Sciences, was inducted for her “high quality and inclusive learning experiences for all students.”

“I was thrilled to be selected,” Feria said. “My heart was pumping very fast. This accomplishment helps me to reinforce the work that I am doing as an educator. Student success is a core value for me.”

Read more about Dr. Feria's achievement in UTRGV's Newsroom!



February,23, 2022

Dr. Rafael Almeida SEEMS faculty published in high-impact journal, Science!


Dr. Rafael Almeida, a new assistant professor in the  School of Earth, Environmental and Marine Sciences at UTRGV, has research interests that hit close to home in the Rio Grande Valley – specifically, sustainability and freshwater ecology. 

The Brazilian-born scientist recently joined UTRGV from Cornell University in New York, where he had spent the past three years working on his post-doctoral studies. While in Ithaca, he was part of a research team that examines hydropower sustainability in the Amazon rainforest.  

Together, the group wrote a paper titled “Reducing adverse impacts of Amazon hydropower expansion,” and it was published Feb. 18 in the prestigious journal  Science.  

Read more about Dr.Almeida's achievement in UTRGV's Newsroom!



October 24th, 2020

Dr. Villalobos is awarded SACNAS Presidential Service Award


Dr. Cristina Villalobos does it again as she receives her 2nd National Award in 2020! On October 24th, 2020 Dr. Villalobos received the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Presidential Service Award., having received this same award in 2013 Villalobos mentions that "“SACNAS has been an exemplary model of mentoring students, faculty and professionals throughout their career paths and especially in mine.” It's safe to say that her path doesn't stop here as she continues to find ways to promote STEM to not only the youth but to minorities as well. Read more about Dr.Villalobos' achievement in UTRGV's Newsroom!



September 29th, 2020

UTRGV physics and mathematics professors receive joint grant from U.S. Department of Defense

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Two UTRGV professors have been awarded a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, Air Force for Scientific Research (AFOSR), for expanded research into optics and photonics.

The project, titled “Defect states in time and space modulated lattices,” started in July 2020 and continues through 2023.

Dr. Hamidreza Ramezani from the UTRGV Department of Physics, principal investigator on the $653,371 grant project, and co-PI Dr. Baofeng Feng from the School of Mathematical and Statistics Sciences, will contribute to the rapidly growing research area of optics and photonics. Read more!

August 17th, 2020

Dr. Teresa Feria honored with prestigious UT Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award

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For their commitment to providing a quality and meaningful education to their students, two UTRGV faculty members have been honored with one of the highest and most prestigious awards in the nation that recognizes teaching excellence - the 2020 Regents Outstanding Teaching Awards (ROTA). Watch ROTA Video and read more about Dr. Feria's achievement!

August 7th, 2020

UTRGV’s Cristina Villalobos receives top White House PAESMEM Award

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Dr. Villalobos's constant involvement to increase the number of students especially women and underrepresented minorities in obtaining STEM degrees, initiative to build the Center of Excellence in STEM Education (CSTEM), role as associate dean for the College of Science, as well as many other achievements have led to become a recipient of one of the nation’s highest honors, the PAESMEM award.

The PAESMEM was created in 1995 to identify and recognize individuals and organizations that have contributed outstanding efforts in mentoring, and have enhanced the participation of individuals from historically underrepresented groups and disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds who might not otherwise have considered or have access to opportunities in STEM disciplines and professions. Historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in STEM fields include African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, Native Hawaiians, and Alaska Natives.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) administers the awards program on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). OSTP selects both individuals and organizations to receive the honor. Each Presidential Awardee receives a certificate signed by the President of the United States and a $10,000 award from NSF. Awardees are honored at an award ceremony which takes place in Washington, D.C.

Read more about Dr. Villalobos's recognition in UTRGV's Newsroom, SACNAS's article and RICE's showcase of their alumna.

February 20th, 2020

UTRGV professor earns medal for scientific work, support for Latin American researchers

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As part of the team that made possibly the most important astronomical discovery of the 21st century, Dr. Mario Diaz encouraged other Latin Americans to participate in the research. “It is something I'm proud of,” said Diaz, UTRGV professor of physics and astronomy and director of the university’s Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy. Diaz, who is part of the team that first observed gravitational waves and later observed the collision of two neutron stars in 2017, is being awarded for his work and his support of Latin American researchers and students. Read More!