Also In This Issue

On Campus: News From Across Texas A&M

BUILDing Civil Engineers

Sixty high school juniors and seniors from Texas and across the nation attended Camp BUILD, a one-week program hosted by the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering. Through design projects, problem-solving activities and competitions, the camp introduces students from underrepresented segments of the population to the civil engineering discipline and to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

Selected participants are high academic achievers who come primarily from high schools that do not offer engineering courses.

Throughout the week, campers participated in lab activities related to civil engineering specialties. They explored the water purification process, constructed a pipe system spanning a 20-foot gap, learned about the rate of water flow in sediment, used surveying equipment and participated in a beam design project.

In addition to these activities, campers were split into smaller teams to design a minimum 10-foot bridge capable of supporting a vertical load of 200 pounds.

During the last two years, student participants have had remarkable success in gaining admission to Texas A&M and the College of Engineering with 73 percent being admitted to the university and 85 percent of those entering the college.

ReVIVING the morning Jolt

A new Center for Coffee Research and Education at Texas A&M University will help fill a worldwide coffee research void and create economic opportunities for coffee farmers.

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents voted in September to create the center in response to challenges facing the multibillion-dollar coffee industry.

While coffee is the primary source of income for about 100 million people globally, coffee farms struggle to balance increasing demand for crops with decreasing land suitable for production. This factor, coupled with narrow genetic diversity, climate change and diseases like coffee rust, threatens the industry as a whole.

Researchers at the new scientific center, located at the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture on the Texas A&M campus, will study coffee genetics and disease resistance in an effort to improve the quality and sustainability of the crop. Field-based research will also be conducted on location at coffee farms in Central and South America.

Bike Lanes Illuminate Campus

In October, Aggieland became home to the nation’s first non-signalized Dutch-style intersection with solar-lit bike paths, located at the high-traffic junction of Bizzell and Ross streets on the Texas A&M University campus.

The technology was implemented by Texas A&M’s Transportation Services in collaboration with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

The intersection includes bright green solar luminescent pavement markings that delineate bicycle pathways. The markings light pathways for cyclists 24/7 by storing solar energy during the day and emitting light at night.

Known as a Dutch junction since it was developed in the Netherlands, this type of intersection enhances cyclist safety and mobility by moving cyclists in view of vehicles. Islands at the intersection corners also separate cars and cyclists turning right and move cyclists traveling straight away from automobile blind spots.

As part of class assignments, both engineering and architecture students will evaluate the intersection’s effectiveness.

Stopping Zika at Its Source

Jennifer Horney, an associate professor in the School of Public Health, and Daniel Goldberg, who holds assistant professorships in the colleges of geosciences and engineering, created a mobile app to fight the Zika virus at its source: standing water.

The Aedes mosquito, which transmits the Zika virus, can breed in containers of standing water as small as a bottle cap, and its eggs can survive for months without water. Still, the egg and larval stage is the best time to control the insect because the adult mosquito is more resistant to traditional pesticides.

“With our new app called TAMU Zika, citizens can take surveys to note the prevalence and locations of potential mosquito breeding grounds in their communities,” Horney said. “This data is then mapped online, and health departments can use that information to prioritize areas for mosquito control measures.”

Users of the app can record the number of different types of containers—old tires, buckets, bird baths, clogged gutters—that could harbor Zika-carrying mosquito eggs, along with the address of the property. The app then automatically adds the location to a website for local health officials to review.

The app is available for download on iOS and Android devices.

Class Notes

  • Women in STEM

    This one’s for the girls! Texas A&M University recently ranked first in Texas and 12th nationally among universities that graduate the most women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The ranking was published by
  • Topping Animation Charts

    For the second consecutive year, Texas A&M was recognized as one of the nation’s top animation schools—placing third among public institutions and second in the Southwest—by Animation Career Review, an online career resource for aspiring animators, game designers and digital artists.
  • Affordable Medicine

    U.S. News & World Report named the Texas A&M College of Medicine the most affordable medical school in the U.S. for in-state tuition. The cost to attend is nearly half of the in-state average among all public medical schools in the nation.
  • Dental Outreach

    Fourth-year students from the Texas A&M College of Dentistry are giving smiles to more than 200,000 children and adults in North Texas by providing low-cost oral health screenings, dental services and examinations to underserved populations.