Nanotechnology Students Doing Big Things

Nanotechnology Students Doing Big Things
Finding the cure for diseases, producing safer food or creating electric vehicles will all involve nanotechnology in the future.

It’s estimated that this field will generate five million jobs by 2015. Northwest Vista College is preparing students for careers in nanotechnology – the understanding and control of matter at the nanoscale, which is one billionth of a meter. To put it in perspective, a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick. 

Some of NVC’s students in the Nanotechnology program are already finding successes.  

Just recently Jason Giuliani was one of 50 students in the U.S. selected to attend an October conference in Washington, D.C. that brings educators, investors and the government together to learn about cutting-edge technology in science. The conference, which is by invitation only for both students and professionals, is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Association of Community Colleges. 

“Choosing to attend NVC and in particular the Nanotechnology program, has been one of the best decisions that I have made,” said Jason, who hopes to attend UTSA and eventually earn a doctorate degree. “It has opened the door to opportunities that I could never have foreseen, like this conference.” 

Another student, Richard Havel, just completed a successful nanotechnology internship at the Southwest Research Institute. The internship taught him about microencapsulation and using nanotechnology in chemistry. 

Previous students, such as Jesse Salas, was invited by UTSA to present gradual-level work at a science conference it hosted a few years ago. And NVC Nanotechnology students Aaron Hodson and Nolan Greenwood recently received T-STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) scholarships from Alamo Colleges/NVC.  

Marcus Najera, another former NVC student, received a coveted NanoJapan scholarship to do research in Japan two years ago. After returning from Japan, Marcus was invited to do project based internships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Yale. Marcus has since received student awards for his presentations and has taken part in more fellowships and workshops at prestigious universities.  

Qiaoying Zhou , Ph.D., NVC Nanotechnology coordinator, said although her program is small, many of her students are doing big things. The program also rivals many of the nanotechnology educational programs in San Antonio. 

“The students in our program are serious learners,” she said. “They are passionate in learning new things. They are determined and hard-working.” 

In addition to the student achievements, the NVC program recently received a federal grant of $199,217 from the National Science Foundation-Advanced Technology Education Program. The money will help the program become a leading producer of nanotechnology-related technicians thanks to NVC’s partnerships with high schools, four-year institutions and industry organizations. 

Qiaoying said the future of nanotechnology is looking even brighter since the NSF has donated more to support the expanding field. 

NSF recently announced it awarded $55.5 million to three universities, including the University of Texas in Austin, to focus on developing nanotechnology systems that could be used in electromagnetic, mobile computing, energy and manufacturing. 

NVC’s Nanotechnology Associate of Applied Science program prepares students for careers in emerging nanotechnology industries as entry-level nanotechnicians. Through its 2+2 degree transfer partnership with UTSA, nanotech students get internship opportunities and receive the chance to partner on major grants at UTSA. To learn more about Nanotechnology, go here: www.alamo.edu/nvc/academics/departments/nanotech/