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Development of Undergraduate Research Infrastructure in the Energy Engineering at Prairie View A&M University

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.467.1 - 25.467.15



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Paper Authors


Sukesh K. Aghara Prairie View A&M University

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Sukesh Aghara is a tenured Associate Professor at Prairie View A&M University (PV) in the Department of Chemical Engineering (nuclear). He has received a $1 million per year for five years NSF grant as a PI/Director of the CREST Center for Energy and Environmental Sustainability. In addition, he is the leader for the Radiation Transport group with the NASA Center for Radiation Engineering and Science for Space Exploration (CRESSE). He served as a NASA Administrator’s Fellow for two years at the NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC). Aghara earned a master's in environmental engineering from Vanderbilt University in 1999. He then went on to get his master's and Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Texas at Austin (UT) in 2001 and 2003, respectively. Upon completion of his Ph.D., Aghara was appointed as research associate at Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory in Austin, Texas and a Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UT prior to taking his current position at PV. He serves on the board of the Nuclear Power Institute (NPI), a multi-agency (university/industry/utilities) consortium focused on the development of the nuclear workforce of the future. Aghara has more than 10 years of teaching experience and has played a leadership role in an effort to establish the Nuclear Engineering program at PV. He has led the efforts of procuring NASA and DOE funding for curriculum development of radiation science and engineering program at PV. He is the architect for the curriculum development of the energy engineering minor at the undergraduate level and energy engineering concentration at the graduate level within the Roy G. Perry College of Engineering. His research interests include characterization of radiation environment (neutrons and gamma) for fundamental materials research and space radiation effects in material and radiation shielding analysis for ground based system and space radiation environment. Aghara published a number of scientific research papers to the various reputed peer review journals and conferences. He has strong experimental and computational background with more than 14 years of experience. He has funded projects from NASA, DOE, NNSA, NSF, and various small businesses supporting DoD, MDA, and NASA-related research. He serves as scientific reviewer for a number of national and international journals publications on nuclear science and engineering.

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M. Golam Faruk Prairie View A&M University

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M. Golam Faruk* earned his M.S. degree in the Nuclear Engineering program from the University of Texas, Austin in 2000. He also earned another M.S. and a Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering (ECE) from Prairie View A&M University in 2005 and 2011, respectively. His doctoral dissertation title was “Enabling Scatterometry as an In-line Measurement Technique for 32 nm BEOL Application and Variability Analysis." Faruk has extensive research experience in modeling, design, simulation, and process integration of nanoscale semiconductor devices, analog mixed signal circuit design, mixed signal testing techniques, transistor level device characterization, nuclear radiation detection and analysis, and radiation effects on semiconductor devices. Faruk authored several peer reviewed referred journals, such as IEEE Transaction on Semiconductor Manufacturing, Physical Review B, and Journal of Physics. Currently he is holding a research position in the Chemical Engineering Department at Prairie View A&M University.

Note: *Presenting Author.

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Latha Vasudevan Texas A&M University

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Latha Vasudevan is an Assistant Director/Radiological Safety Officer at Texas A&M University Environmental Health and Safety, College Station, Texas. Prior to this position, Vasudevan was holding a Radiological Safety Officer position at Nuclear Science Center, Texas A&M University for more than 13 years. She had taught several nuclear engineering and health physics classes at Texas A&M University as a visiting Assistant Professor and had taught the nuclear instrumentation course at Prairie View A&M University as an Adjunct Professor. Vasudevan obtained her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in nuclear engineering (health physics) from Texas A&M University. She has extensive research experience in radiological health physics, nuclear radiation detection, instrumentation, spent fuel management, reactor based experiments, atmospheric dispersion of radionuclide, and radiation dosimetry. She has been instrumental in providing technical support and advice for several M.S. and Ph.D. students in the area nuclear instrumentation, and radiological safety. Vasudevan has presented several scientific research papers in national and international conferences and symposiums.

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Development of Undergraduate Research Infrastructure in the Energy Engineering at Prairie View A&M UniversityAbstractGlobally, fossil fuels (77.6%) and nuclear energy (6.6%) combined constitute 84.2% of the totalprimary energy sources consumed today. In the US, fossil fuels constitute 69% and nuclear fuel20% of total primary energy sources. Both of these energy sources present significant concernswith regards to national security, environment and overall safety. There is a growing interestwithin the education and research community to develop a comprehensive curriculum andinfrastructure that focuses on the energy production and consumption with an environmentallysustainable prospective. In this paper we will discuss the development of infrastructure for theundergraduate engineering research, teaching and training laboratory that focuses on alternativeand renewable energy. The laboratory is developed to build capability in solving complex realworld problems associated with energy industry and to build the future workforce of individualswith advanced technical skill-set necessary to contribute to the energy industry. The two mainareas of focus for our work are renewable energy (wind and solar) and nuclear energy.Prairie View A&M University, the second oldest public institution of higher learning in the stateof Texas and a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), has been systematicallydeveloping its capability through addition of equipment and personnel resources to supportnuclear engineering and radiation safety education and research. With the collaborative effortsand leveraged funding PVAMU developed course curriculum and a state-of-art nuclearinstrumentation and detection lab to facilitate undergraduate research. The first phase of thecomprehensive energy laboratory development plan.This paper describes the methodology and techniques adopted to engage undergraduate studentsin nuclear energy related education, research and training. We will discuss the step to involve thestudents in learning the basic and advanced tools, software, and techniques to build their abilityfor hands-on activities. By correlating theoretical concepts with practical experiments in a labenvironment students were introduced to the value of practical application of energy engineeringconcepts. Ultimately the laboratory is used to identify select students with the aptitude to furtherinvestigate specific aspects of the energy research. The students were encouraged to apply for acompetitive intern position to gain appointment as full time researcher during the summer. Theresults show that the laboratory has been an excellent tool to introduce students to hands-onlearning and further encourage students to pursue research and advance their analytical skills toformulate a problem, set up strategies to solve the problem, set up experiments, collect data, andinterpret results. This systematic approach of gradual engagement of students enabled them togain confidence and realize this potential to pursue graduate studies for more advanced research.

Aghara, S. K., & Faruk, M. G., & Vasudevan, L. (2012, June), Development of Undergraduate Research Infrastructure in the Energy Engineering at Prairie View A&M University Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21225

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