Creating the Change

Eleven speakers spread their ideas and inspired the audience — in person and online — to make a difference in the world at the TEDxUNT: Create the Change event held in October. They encouraged us to be more curious, to look at old things in new ways, to follow our own call to adventure and more. Melanie Ecker, assistant professor and director of the Ecker Lab: Smart Polymers for Biomedical Applications in UNT's Department of Biomedical Engineering, was there to persuade the audience that some plastics are smart. Ione Hunt von Herbing, associate professor and director of the Marine Conservation and Aquatic Physiological Laboratory (MCAPL) in UNT's Department of Biological Sciences, encouraged the audience to pursue their own adventures — just like when she knew she wanted to be a scientist when she was 3 years old. Visit the TEDxUNT website to read more about the inspiring talks or watch videos as they are release by TED.

Collaboration Spotlight
Partnering with Google to Provide Training for Tech Jobs

UNT is partnering with Google to help students and working adults learn job-ready skills for tech careers. Under the new agreement, anyone who completes the Google IT Support Certificate can receive up to 12 college credits toward the IT concentration of the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree at UNT. "Partnering with a global leader like Google ensures our students get the best of industry and academic knowledge in high-demand fields," says Adam Fein, vice president for digital strategy and innovation at UNT. "Our students can transform their certificate learnings into academic credit towards degrees and credentials that help them meet and exceed their career goals." UNT's partnership with Google comes at a time when the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area continues to add jobs in the tech sector. Dallas is one of the top five cities in the U.S. hiring for tech roles, and IT continues to be one of the fastest-growing job fields. The partnership will help students and workers take advantage of today's in-demand tech roles by equipping them with job-ready skills and a path toward a four-year degree.

Research News
Improving Teacher Efficacy through Artificial Intelligence

Rhonda Christensen and Gerald Knezek, professors of learning technologies, recently received an $840,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to use artificial intelligence to increase equity and inclusion and teacher efficacy in K-12 classrooms. In the research project, Christensen and Knezek will use a classroom simulation program to analyze teachers' interactions with students. The modules are designed to help teachers become more effective instructors by preparing them for challenges inherent in the classroom environment that they may not encounter during pre-service teaching or internships as well as identify implicit biases they may have.

Exotic Nanomaterials for Nanoelectronics and Quantum Devices

Industry experts believe that the ability to put more components on a silicon chip is nearing its end, causing dire challenges for the industry as it seeks to grow capacity in nanoelectronics. To help address national security concerns about high-performance computing related to information science, Anupama Kaul, professor of materials science and engineering and electrical engineering, is studying nanomaterials such as tungsten diselenide and other semiconducting van der Waals solids that are being considered for electronics and optoelectronics as alternatives to silicon. She received a grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to offer a number of exploratory solutions for silicon's inefficiencies.

Placing First in Amazon Web Services Autonomous Car Competition

Three students at UNT's Texas Academy of Mathematics and Sciences took first place in the Amazon Web Services DeepRacer Student League Competition, the world's first autonomous car racing league. Eric Peng, Caleb Tian and William Hua beat out the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California San Diego, earning them scholarships and an invitation to compete in the DeepRacer League Global Championship. Their mentor is Song Fu, professor of computer science and engineering.

Understanding Dynamic and Multilayer Networks

Sanjukta Bhowmick, associate professor of computer science and engineering, has received three new grants from the National Science Foundation for work in dynamic networks and multilayer networks to address problems ranging from social media networks to navigation systems. The first combines expertise from UNT Engineering, Missouri S&T and the University of Oregon to develop a software to allow users to better analyze and change dynamic network graphs. Her second grant, a collaboration with the University of Texas Arlington and The Pennsylvania State University, is a continuation of a grant study on multilayer networks. A third will support a Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) program focused on the multilayer network project.

Expanding Career Readiness through $5 Million Gift

The G. Brint Ryan College of Business will offer new career readiness opportunities to students after receiving a $5 million donation from alumnus Wilson Jones and his wife, Jane. The Wilson Jones Career Center — a new space in UNT's Business Leadership Building — will provide more adequate and accessible support for career readiness at one of the largest business schools in the nation. The newly established center will focus on internship opportunities, with the goal of every business student participating in a degree-appropriate applied professional experience during their academic career. The center will connect potential employers with UNT staff who understand their needs and can respond quickly.

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