Current News

  • News 2018

    Journey of Melissa Martinez from UTCRS REU participant to BNSF Railway Engineer

    Journey of Melissa Martinez from UTCRS REU participant to BNSF Railway Engineer

    At the University Transportation Center for Railway Safety (UTCRS), we measure our success by that of our students who were a part of our research, education, technology transfer, workforce development, and community outreach programs. Melissa Martinez is one of those bright young engineers that joined the UTCRS in her junior year pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. She was one of only eight students selected to participate in the inaugural 2014 UTCRS Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program where she spent ten weeks conducting research with faculty at Texas A&M University (TAMU). The UTCRS received fifty competitive applications for the 2014 UTCRS REU program, which highlights the strengths of students that were selected to participate in that cohort. The faculty at TAMU were impressed by the quality of work performed by Melissa and she was invited to join the 2015 UTCRS REU cohort to continue the work she started the previous summer. When she first joined the UTCRS, Melissa wanted to finish her bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and get a job immediately after. However, as a result of her participation in the UTCRS REU program, Melissa applied for the master’s program at TAMU in Fall 2015 and was admitted in Spring 2016. Melissa graduated with her master’s degree in Civil Engineering in May of 2018 and started her job at BNSF Railway in Denver, Colorado in September 2018. She started the application process with BNSF in January 2018 and received an offer from them in March 2018.

    The pictures shown portray a very inspiring story. During her participation in the 2015 UTCRS REU program, Dr. Gary Fry, Director of the Center for Railway Research at TAMU, arranged for a field trip to BNSF Railway facilities in Denver, Colorado, which is where Melissa took that first picture on the left. She was intrigued and excited about the work done at BNSF Railway and she promised herself that she will pursue a career at BNSF Railway upon graduation. Three years later, Melissa Martinez returns to BNSF Railway as an engineer with her master’s degree now. She fulfilled her promise to herself and was able to gain employment at BNSF Railway where she started in September of 2018. The pictures in the middle and the right were taken in 2018 after she started her employment at BNSF Railway in Denver, Colorado. We, at the UTCRS, could not be more proud of what Melissa Martinez has been able to accomplish. She is pursuing a career in a field that she is very passionate about and in a company that she envisioned she would be working for when she visited three years earlier. The impact of this story on the rail industry is realized when considering that there are less than 1% Female Hispanic U.S. citizens working in STEM-related transportation jobs in the U.S., and an even lower percentage working in the rail industry.      

    Melissa Martinez had this to say in an email she sent to UTCRS Director, Dr. Constantine Tarawneh: “I know we haven't spoken since I graduated but I would like to thank you for believing in me since the beginning. Without you, I would never be working for such a great company!”

    UTCRS UTRGV Research group has strong showing in 2018 ASME JRC

    JRC 2018 Awards Banquet

    The UTCRS UTRGV Research Group had a strong showing at the 2018 ASME Joint Rail Conference (JRC) held in Pittsburgh, PA in April 17-20. The research group presented four papers on work that is performed as part of the projects funded by the University Transportation Center for Railway Safety (UTCRS) under the USDOT Grant No. DTRT13-G-UTC59. The UTCRS group consisted of two faculty and seven students from UTRGV (4 graduates and 3 undergraduates). The presentations featured four of our graduate students who were first authors and presenters at the conference. The UTCRS Research Group was the largest academic group in attendance at this conference and during the banquet held on Thursday April 19, 2018, one of our graduate students received one of four ASME Graduate Scholarships (Joseph Montalvo), and one of our undergraduate students (Veronica Hernandez) received the only ASME Scholarship presented to undergraduate students at this conference. The four graduate students are currently working on their Master’s Thesis and are set to defend this year. We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of the UTCRS Research Group! Especially the work of the graduate and undergraduate students involved in the various UTCRS research projects. This event provided an invaluable experience for our students to participate in a professional conference where they were able to showcase and discuss their work with their peers and other professionals in the rail industry. Pictured from left to right: Oscar Rodriguez (Graduate Student), Veronica Hernandez (Undergraduate Student), Dr. Constantine Tarawneh (UTCRS Director), Jennifer Lima (Undergraduate Student), Dr. Robert Jones (UTCRS Faculty), Nancy De Los Santos (Graduate Student), Claudia Ramirez (Undergraduate Student), Joseph Montalvo (Graduate Student), James Aranda (Graduate Student), and Jeff Gordon (Office of Research and Development, Federal Railroad Administration, USDOT).

    Student  Excellence Profile: Cassandra Sias

    Student Excellence Profile: Cassandra Sias

    Cassandra Sias was a member of the University Transportation Center for Railway Safety (UTCRS) while pursuing her BS degree in Civil Engineering at The University of Texas Rio Grande. As a freshman student, she was chosen as part of the inaugural cohort of students that participated in the 2014 research experience for undergraduate (REU) program administered by the UTCRS. Her outstanding performance led to her being chosen for the 2015 UTCRS REU cohort which consisted of 12 students.

    Cassandra used the knowledge she gained from participating in the REU Program to land an internship in Summer of 2017 working for the Railroad Division (RRD) at Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) - Austin District. Her project focused on the state-owned South Orient Railroad (SORR) track rehabilitation project in Upton, Crane, and Crockett counties. Throughout the summer, she learned about the mechanics/components of the railroad tracks and how to inspect and detect defects for restoration – ties, stock rail, pins, etc. In addition, she developed a plan set using MicroStation that consisted of five grade crossing sketches depicting the placement of the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SW3P) developed by the environmentalist. Quantity tables for each county were also drafted to state the number of ties, ballast loads, and other track parts that are due for replacement. Cassandra stated that working at TxDOT was an incredible experience. She was able to challenge herself by applying her theoretical knowledge of railways into practical field applications.

    In Fall of 2017, Cassandra graduated with her BS in Civil Engineering with three job offers in the field of transportation engineering. Currently, she is working in HDR Engineering, Inc. in Austin Texas as a Utility Design Engineer. Her job functions in support of project engineer/design engineer include working on utility relocation/coordination projects within Texas for several agencies - TxDOT, Counties, Cities, and major railroad companies; identifying and resolving utility conflicts in the most feasible and time sensitive manner; inputting utility information into MicroStation creating utility layouts and plan sheets for design of utility relocation.

    Cassandra provided the following quote: “Special thanks to Dr. Tarawneh for his unconditional support and mentorship throughout my undergraduate career.”

    2017 UTCRS Student of the Year CUTC Award Recipient

    2017 UTCRS Student of the Year CUTC Award Recipient

    In the picture, from right to left, are: James Aranda, Constantine Tarawneh (UTCRS Director), Tiffany Trevino, and Santos Ramos

    The Council of the University Transportation Centers (CUTC) celebrated the accomplishments of the students involved in the various research and educational activities of their corresponding UTCs during the annual winter banquet held on January 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. During the banquet, Students of the Year (SOY) as selected by their respective UTC were honored by receiving a certificate in recognition of their achievements and contribution to transportation research and education. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) is proud of the accomplishments and achievements of its students pictured alongside University Transportation Center for Railway Safety (UTCRS) Director, Dr. Constantine Tarawneh. Mr. James Aranda, a graduate student pursuing his master’s degree in mechanical engineering at UTRGV, was selected as the UTCRS Student of the Year Award Recipient. Ms. Tiffany Trevino, a graduate student pursuing her master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), was selected as the MATC Student of the Year Award Recipient. Mr. Santos Ramos graduated with his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from UTRGV in Fall 2017 and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in civil engineering at UNL. Both, Ms. Tiffany Trevino and Mr. Santos Ramos, participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program organized by the UTCRS in summer of 2015 and 2016. Prior to participation in the UTCRS REU Program, both Tiffany and Santos had no intention of pursuing their master’s degrees, but the research experience they received gave them the confidence they needed to pursue their graduate degrees. The success of these students in their academic careers speaks volumes to the research and education opportunities they received at UTRGV through the UTCRS. To date, the UTCRS REU Program has been responsible for placing eleven UTRGV students with majors in mechanical, civil, and computer science in graduate programs at UNL. Moreover, almost 75% of the UTCRS REU participants have joined graduate programs at UTRGV, UNL, and TAMU, which is an impressive statistic when compared to the success rate of other REU Programs nationally.

  • News 2017

    4 Your Education: Rio Grande Valley students learn STEM education at Railway Camp

    Future Engineers

    UTCRS UTRGV Research Group receives Best Paper honors at the 2017 ASME Joint Rail Conference

    UTCRS UTRGV Research Group receives Best Paper honors at the 2017 ASME Joint Rail Conference

    The UTCRS Research Group attended the 2017 ASME Joint Rail Conference from April 5-7 where they presented five papers on work that is performed as part of the projects funded by the UTCRS under the USDOT Grant No. DTRT13-G-UTC59. The UTCRS group consisted of five faculty and four students from UTRGV (4 faculty and 3 students) and consortium partner UNL (1 faculty and 1 student). The presentations featured four of our graduate students who were first authors and presenters at the conference. The UTCRS Research Group was the largest academic group in attendance at this conference and during the banquet held on Thursday April 6, 2017, four of our graduate students received the ASME Graduate Scholarship (3 from UTRGV and 1 from UNL). In total, there were 8 ASME graduate scholarships awarded and the UTCRS Research Group captured half of those. Moreover, one of the UTRGV graduate students (Oscar Rodriguez) received the “Best Paper” Award, which is the highest honors given in this conference. We are very proud of the accomplishments of the UTCRS Research Group! This event provided an invaluable experience for our students to participate in a professional conference where they were able to showcase and discuss their work with their peers and other professionals in the field.

    UTCRS Students Receive 2017 Outstanding Undergraduate / Graduate Awards

    UTCRS Students Receive 2017 Outstanding Undergraduate / Graduate Awards

    The UTRGV College of Engineering and Computer Science celebrated Engineers Week (E-Week) through a number of community outreach activities and workshops for K-12 students. The college held an E-Week Banquet on Wednesday February 22, 2017 to highlight the different ongoing initiatives that are focused on providing students with career opportunities upon graduation. During the banquet, each department within the college proudly announces their most outstanding undergraduate and graduate students for the 2017 academic year as selected by the faculty in their respective department. For the second year in a row, UTCRS students received four outstanding awards by the vote of the faculty in their respective departments. In Civil Engineering, Ms. Cassandra Sias, a two-time UTCRS REU participant, received the outstanding undergraduate student award. In Electrical Engineering, Mr. Dominic Lebron received the outstanding undergraduate student award. In Mechanical Engineering, UTCRS students James Aranda and Oscar Rodriguez received the outstanding undergraduate and graduate student awards, respectively, by the vote of the mechanical engineering faculty. In the picture, from left to right, are the UTCRS Director, Dr. Constantine Tarawneh, undergraduate student James Aranda, graduate student Oscar Rodriguez, and UTCRS Associate Director, Dr. Robert Freeman.

    Transportation Innovation Series

    Transportation Innovation Series

    The railroad industry utilizes wayside detection systems to monitor the temperature of freight railcar bearings in service. The wayside hot-box detector (HBD) is a device that sits on the side of the tracks and uses a non-contact infrared sensor to determine the temperature of the train bearings as they roll over the detector....READ MORE

    2016 Student of the Year Award Recipient Mr. Oscar Rodriguez alongside UTCRS Director, Constantine Tarawneh (January 9, 2017)

    2016 Student of the Year Award Recipient Mr. Oscar Rodriguez alongside UTCRS Director, Constantine Tarawneh (January 9, 2017), Picture 2

    The Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) celebrated their 20th banquet and reception on January 9, 2017. This is the 26th year of honoring distinguished students and faculty.

  • News 2016

    From all of us here at the University Transportation Center for Railway Safety (UTCRS). Wishing you Happy Holidays, and a Wonderful New Year

    Wishing you Happy Holidays, and a Wonderful New Year Picture 2

    2016 REU Symposium 

    In summer of 2016, 14 undergraduate students participated in the UTCRS REU Program at our two consortium institutions TAMU and UNL for 10 weeks. The REU students, who worked alongside faculty and other research students on railway safety related projects, presented their research and talked about their experience as 2016 REU participants on December 2nd, 2016. 

    2016 REU Symposium, Picture 3

    2016 UTCRS Summer Camps Program Winners 

    On July 11th, 2016, UTCRS awarded summer campers their certificate of accomplishment. 
    In the picture (left to right): Dr. Alexander Domijan (Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science), Dr. Constantine Tarawneh (Director of University Transportation Center for Railway Safety), Jacob Seymour (La Feria High School, 10th grade), Denycia Rubio (La Feria High School, 10th grade), Alonzo Salazar (La Feria High School, 10th grade), Dr. Havidan Rodriguez (Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs), Congressman Ruben Hinojosa (15th District of Texas), Ryan Zamora (Boy Scout Troop 83, Memorial Middle School, 8th grade), Nicolas Reyna (Boy Scout Troop 83, Mission Jr. High School, 8th grade), Veronica Gonzalez (Vice president for Governmental and Communication Relations), Jaqueline Chapa, Itzel Jaramillo and Mireya Hernandez. 

    Click here to watch the full video:
    https://www.facebook.com/utrgv/videos/659061657582681

    2016 UTCRS Summer Camps Program Winners , Picture 2

    2016 UTCRS High School Intern Esmeralda Infante wins 1st place in Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Program Closing Ceremony

    On July 29th, 2016, Esmeralda Infante, one of four High School Interns working with our UTCRS research team, won 1st place in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Program research competition. The HHMI program is geared towards advancing biomedical research and science education for the benefit of humanity. Ms. Infante's research is entitled "Demonstrating and Studying the Emissivity Difference Over a Single Bearing and Population of Bearings." Esmeralda Infante is one of the early UTCRS STEM Summer Camps success stories. Ms. Infante was one of the participants of the Inaugural 2014 UTCRS High School STEM Summer Camp. The camp peaked her interest in science and engineering and she promised back in 2014 to return to the UTCRS and be a part of the research team. In two short years, not only did Esmeralda keep her promise to come back and be a part of the UTCRS research team, but she also impressed the HHMI judges and proudly earned the 1st place prize. This accomplishment is just the beginning in her very promising and bright future in engineering and the transportation field. Congratulations to Ms. Infante, and hope to see her at UTRGV upon completion of her High School education. 

    High School Intern Esmeralda Infante wins 1st place in Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Picture 2

    2016 ASME Undergraduate Scholarship awarded to UTCRS student Oscar Rodriguez

    Oscar Rodrigues on April 14th, 2016, received the Swamidas K. Charan (John) Punwani Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship for the 2016 The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Joint Rail Conference (JRC).
    In the picture left to right: Oscar Rodriguez, Monique Ferguson Stewart (ASME RTD Scholarship Program Chair), Dr. Constantine Tarawneh (UTCRS Director).

    2016 ASME Undergraduate Scholarship awarded to UTCRS student Oscar Rodriguez, Picture 2

    2016 La Joya ISD Board of Trustess recognized UTCRS Summer Campers

    On September 14, 2016, UTCRS Director, Dr. Constantine Tarawneh, was invited to the Board of Trustees meeting of the La Joya Independent School District to recognize attendees of the 2016 UTCRS Summer Camps Program. Dr. Tarawneh spoke about the importance of STEM education at an early age and the need to continue to build upon the current collaboration between the UTCRS and the La Joya School District to bring these great opportunities and introduce the transportation career fields to K-12 students. Following that, the students from elementary and middle school that attended the 2016 UTCRS Summer Camps were awarded certificates of completion. UTCRS Director, Dr. Constantine Tarawneh, also took the opportunity to thank the parents in attendance and urged them to continue encouraging their children to pursue an education and careers in transportation-related STEM fields, and to find ways to provide early guidance and preparation in the pursuit of their STEM careers.

    board of trustees-La Joya

    2016 Summer Camps Enrollment Ongoing for 2nd - 11th Grade Students!!!

    If you are interested in this program, contact your School District CTE or Science Coordinator for information on application, selection, and registration process. 

    2016 Summer Camps Enrollment Ongoing for 2nd - 11th Grade Students!!! Picture 2

    2016 Transportation STEM Classroom K-12 National Teacher Workshop

    The 2016 K-12 STEM National Workshop is an excellent opportunity for K-12 Educators, STEM Learning Coordinators, CTE Directors, Transportation and Railway Safety Educators, and Summer Camp Coordinators to learn how to incorporate Transportation Engineering in the classroom as a way to deliver STEM concepts to students of all grade levels. 

    Flyer

    2016 REU Participants Selected

    Students will travel to A&M and UNL universities to conduct Railway Safety Projects pertaining to mechanical, infrastructure, and operations research. 

    2016 REU Participants Selected Picture 4

    UTCRS Faculty and Students During UTRGV 2016 E-Week Banquet

    2016 REU Participants Selected Picture 4 UTCRS Faculty and Students During UTRGV 2016 E-Week Banquet Picture 4

    UTCRS on Science Fair at IDEA McAllen

    UTCRS on Science Fair at IDEA McAllen

    2015 Student of the Year Honored in the Annual CUTC Banquet

    Pictured from left to right: USDOT Director of Research, Development, and Technology, Kevin Womack, Assistant Secretary of Transportation, Greg Winfree, NTC Student of the Year Honoree, Ana Guajardo, UTCRS Student of the Year Honoree, Gabriela Perales, and UTCRS Director, Constantine Tarawneh. 

    2015 Student of the Year Honored in the Annual CUTC Banquet

  • News 2015

    UTCRS Welcomes USDOT to 2015 Summer Camps Programs Closing Ceremony!

    The USDOT celebrated with the UTCRS the completion of the 2015 Summer Camps Programs on Monday, July 13th at the University of Texas-Pan American. High school overall winners pictured during the 2015 UTCRS Summer Camp Closing Ceremony with (from left to right): USDOT Grant Manager, Dawn Tucker-Thomas; UTCRS Director, Constantine Tarawneh; UTPA President ad Interim/UTRGV EVP, Havidan Rodriguez; USDOT Grant Manager, Amy Stearns; and DOT Director of Research, Development and Technology, Kevin Womack.

    UTCRS Welcomes USDOT to 2015 Summer Camps Programs Closing Ceremony!

    2015 UTCRS Summer Camps Closing Ceremony Distinguished Guests

    USDOT officials join members of the University leadership and the UTCRS executive committee in celebrating the various educational activities of the 2015 UTCRS Summer Camps. For more details, read the article featured in The Monitor

    2015 UTCRS Summer Camps Closing Ceremony Distinguished Guests

    2015 UTCRS Student of the Year Honored in the Annual CUTC Banquet

    honor student

    REU Symposium

    Come and learn what the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program has to offer. In summer of 2015, 12 undergraduate students participated in the UTCRS REU Program at our two consortium institutions TAMU and UNL for 10 weeks. The REU students, who worked alongside faculty and other research students on railway safety related projects, will be presenting their research and talking about their experience as 2015 REU participants.

    REU Symposium 2015

    UTCRS 2015 Research Experience for Teachers (RETs) Participants

    The 2015 Research Experience for Teachers (RETs) participants pictured with UTCRS Director, Constantine Tarawneh (middle right). RETs from top left to bottom right are: Jesse Sanchez, Rene Garcia, Andres Benitez, Eric Enriquez, Terri Ochoa, Angela Camargo, Mariela Barrera, and Daniela Barrera.

    Research experience for teachers

    UTCRS Congratulates Amy Gonzalez and Roxxie Mann for Their 2014-2015 WTS-SAR Scholarship Awards!

    UTCRS congratulates both Amy Gonzalez for her $1,000 WTS-SAR Graduate Scholarship Award and Roxxie Mann for her $1,500 WTS-SAR Undergraduate Scholarship Award for the 2014-2015 school year.

    wts
  • News 2014

    2014 UTCRS Summer Camp Elementary Winners

    Pictured from left: UTCRS Director, Dr. Contantine Tarawneh, University President, Dr. Robert Nelsen, and school mascot "Bucky" the Bronc standing alongside the elementary winners of the 2014 UTCRS Summer Camp Maglev Competition. 

    2014 UTCRS Summer Camp Elementary Winners

    Two Day Workshop for 50 STEM Teachers

    UTCRS Director, Constantine Tarawneh, and Jesse Sanchez and Andres Benitez (RET Teachers) conducted a two day workshop for 50 STEM teachers from the Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley area. This workshop focused on elementary and middle school modules designed to introduce students to STEM concepts related to transportation engineering focused on railway safety.

    Two Day Workshop for 50 STEM Teachers

    The UTCRS was recently featured on local television news.

    The UTCRS Summer Camp Was Featured in the Local News Channels on July 11, 2014

    About 600 elementary and middle school students are on the fast track to learning about science and engineering at The University of Texas-Pan American's first-ever University Transportation Center for Railway Safety Summer Camp.

    summer camp 2014

    UT-System Regent Jeffery D. Hildebrand Visited on Friday, June 13th, 2014

    On Friday, June 13th, 2014, UT-System Regent Jeffery D. Hildebrand visited the Center for Railway Safety for a tour and to observe presentations given by student researchers for the various ongoing research initiatives at the Center made possible by the US DOT UTC Program.

    UT-System Regent Jeffery D. Hildebrand Visited on Friday, June 13th, 2014

    2014 Summer Camp (K-12)

    Summer Camp Information

    The University Transportation Center for Railway Safety (UTCRS) will be hosting a free Summer Camp to increase awareness of careers in transportation engineering for students in 3rd through 8th grade. The camp promotes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, with a focus on railway safety. Students will be able to attend this camp free of charge.

    Students will have the opportunity to participate in interactive, hands-on activities for one-week in which the various modes of transportation engineering, with a focus on railway safety, will be highlighted. The students will be exposed to current research projects, in progress, as a means of stimulating their interest in engineering and as a potential career path. Certified RET teachers and university faculty will serve as instructors. Current UTPA engineering students will also be available to mentor students by sharing their experiences and knowledge in the field.

    Students will have the option to sign up for one of the five (week-long) camps that will start at 1:00 p.m. and end at 5:00 p.m:

    • Week 1: June 16-20, 2014
    • Week 2: June 23-27, 2014
    • Week 3: June 30 – July 3, 2014
    • Week 4: July 7-11, 2014
    • Week 5: July 14-18, 2014

    The camp will be held on the campus of The University of Texas-Pan American, located at:

    1201 W. University Drive
    Edinburg, TX 78539-2999

    Please keep in mind that each camp session is one week long and that no transportation services are provided; therefore, the campers will need to be dropped off in front of the Student Services Visitor’s Center by their parents/guardians every day 30 minutes before the activities start at 1:00 p.m.

    Application Process

    The application process is now CLOSED for the 2014 UTCRS Summer Camp Program! If you have child(ren) attending high school (9-12), a modestly-priced, week long, full day Transportation Engineering Summer Enrichment Program (TESEP) is still available. Please refer to the TESEP page for more information. The application process for TESEP closes Friday, May 30th, 2014.

    If you have questions or need additional information or special accommodations, please contact the Center for Railway Safety at 956-665-8878 or send an email to railwaysafety@utpa.edu.

    This camp supports historically underserved and under-represented students with limited opportunities. Funding for this 2014 Summer Camp is made possible by grant activities within the University Transportation Center for Railway Safety (UTCRS) funded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and TechnologyU.S. Department of Transportation from UTC Program grant: DTRT13-G-UTC59.

    Are you Creative Summer Camp

    U.S. Congressman Rubén Hinojosa Visits UTCRS 

    On Friday, March 21st, 2014, U.S. Congressman Rubèn Hinojosa (center) and UTPA President Robert Nelson (right) visited with UTCRS faculty and students at the University of Texas-Pan American.

    U.S. Congressman Rubén Hinojosa Visits UTCRS

    2014 REU Participants Selected 

    Students will travel to A&M and UNL universities to conduct Railway Safety Projects pertaining to mechanical, infrastructure, and operations research. 

    2014 REU Participants Selected

    Railway center opening puts UTPA on fast track to emerging research university status

    UTPA celebrated the grand opening and ribbon cutting of its University Transportation Center for Railway Safety Monday, Feb. 10. Pictured in front from left to right with students and faculty members who work in the center are UTPA College of Engineering and Computer Science Dean Dr. Miguel Gonzalez; UT System Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Dr. Randall Charbeneau; UTPA President Dr. Robert S. Nelsen; UTPA Associate Professor, Bentsen Fellow and director of the Mechanical Engineering graduate program Dr. Constantine Tarawneh; U.S. Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology Gregory D. Winfree; and City of Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza Jr. Pictured in second row from left to right are UTPA Vice Provost for Research and Sponsored Projects Dr. Sadiq Shah; UTPA Professor and Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department Dr. Robert Freeman; and UTPA Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Havidán Rodríguez.

    Railway center opening puts UTPA on fast track to emerging research university status

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