Ramirez-Tamayo is a researcher at the Pacific Northwest Laboratory, one of the national laboratories of the US Department of Energy. He was an intern at the firm in 2019 and 2020, before joining full-time last April.
It highlights the work of faculty members like Montoya, who heads UTSA, and its work with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on the Resilient ExtraTerrestrial Habitats Institute (RETHi). Researchers at the institute aim to design and operate resilient deep space habitats that can quickly adapt, absorb, and recover from expected and unexpected disturbances.
“Our drive to recruit the best faculty and achieve R1 research status is deeply rooted in our commitment to provide the best educational experience for our students,” said JoAnn Browning, Dean of the College of Engineering and Integrated Design. “As evidenced by the great work the Roadrunners do after graduation, we are making a significant and lasting impact in the structural engineering industry.”
Working with a prestigious entity like NASA “is the icing on the cake,” said Ramirez-Tamayo, whose own research could lead to significant advances in the materials used to make automobiles. He developed a computational framework to model friction stir welding processes that allows manufacturers to join steel to other materials, such as aluminum. Less steel in the production process translates into a lighter, more environmentally friendly car, Ramirez-Tamayo explained.
Looking ahead, the former UTSA student would one day like to play a role in advancing the knowledge of other students, just as Montoya did for him. “I saw myself teaching, transferring my knowledge to the students,” he said.
But it’s not just UTSA’s high-quality research that students hold in high regard. professors Montoya and Adolfo Matamoros have also created a home for engineering students, many of whom are coming to the United States for the first time.
“Without their support, I wouldn’t be where I am in this stage of my life,” said Reza Nasouri ’19, graduated from UTSA with his doctorate. in civil engineering. “They made UTSA feel right at home.”
Nasouri is a member of the structural engineering team at locally based BakerRisk, where he provides comprehensive services to mitigate risks that could affect client personnel and their properties, including their physical structures.
Nasouri’s clients include oil and gas companies, businesses vulnerable to explosions and explosions that can destroy property and lives. Its job is to ensure that its clients’ structures can withstand such incidents.
This is a profession for which this former UTSA student began to train while he was a doctoral student. student at UTSA. Working alongside Matamoros and Montoya, Nasouri studied weld toe cracks that form on high mast lighting poles during the galvanizing process. These are the poles that illuminate stadiums and streets and are used to display large orientation signs on highways. Their research into how these cracks form, and therefore how to eliminate them, will lead to more durable structures. There are also the savings for businesses, which will spend less time repairing or replacing cracked poles.
The project earned Nasouri the 2019 University Transportation Centers Outstanding Student of the Year award from the Transportation Research Board. The award recognizes outstanding student contributions to multimodal, transit, rail and highway research as well as a student’s academic performance, professionalism, and leadership.
At the heart of UTSA’s engineering discipline is a commitment to making the world a safer place, said Sterling reynolds, an undergraduate student at UTSA specializing in mechanical engineering. He was drawn to the discipline at a young age. When he was 9, he and his mother watched the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrate as it re-entered the atmosphere, killing all seven crew members.
“I didn’t want this to happen again,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds transferred to UTSA after earning his associate degree from Palo Alto College. He credits two programs that have helped him achieve his goals: the Transfer Academy for Tomorrow’s Engineers and the internship opportunities offered by the College of Engineering and Integrated Design.
Reynolds is currently involved in various research projects, including RETHi, where he works alongside Montoya.
He says the research underway at the university to develop sustainable habitats on Mars is work that will also make structures here on earth safer.