Discover Your Island

New Engineering Lab Nears Completion, Increases Teaching and Research Space at Island University

December 07, 2017

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – On Dec. 6, representatives from the College of Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi hosted a preview of the newest building addition to campus, an 8,750 square foot Engineering Lab that will house the latest electrical engineering technology and software.

“This building will unlock more exciting opportunities for our faculty and the students who enroll in our growing engineering programs,” said Dr. Kelly Quintanilla, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi President and CEO. “This latest expansion on campus is thanks to the dedication of our faculty as well as the investment of the City of Corpus Christi and the Corpus Christi Business and Job Development Corporation.”

In addition to special item funding the University received in 2009, the City of Corpus Christi and the Corpus Christi Business and Job Development Corporation provided vital “Type A” funding to help the University jump-start the mechanical engineering program. Fast forward to today, and A&M-Corpus Christi boasts both a mechanical and an electrical engineering program.

“The growth we have seen in our program during its short duration has been phenomenal, it has just exploded,” said Dr. David Bridges, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Engineering, and Director of the Unmanned Aerial Systems Program at A&M-Corpus Christi. “It’s incredible how much the City has supported us, they have been an amazing resource and their support enables us to continue to grow the engineering programs here at the Island University, and especially the electrical engineering program.”

The new building, which is scheduled to open spring 2018, will include four teaching and four research labs. In one of the four research labs, faculty member Dr. Jinha Jung, Assistant Professor of Engineering at A&M-Corpus Christi, will explore the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for Precision Agriculture – an area that is a major contributor to the City’s and the State’s economy. In another lab, Dr. Hua Zhang, Assistant Professor of Engineering will utilize UAS to enhance hydrological modeling. With UAS and satellite imaging, Zhang will be able to analyze flood and drought conditions, two things that are important to any city that decides to improve their water resources management.

“Dr. Bridges was right when he said our growth has been explosive,” said Zhang, one of four researchers who will have a lab in the new building. “While fast growth may make space a premium here on campus, I am always happy to see the expansion of our program – especially when it comes with a new building.”

Electrical engineering students are also expected to gain from the new building. With more than 700 students enrolled in engineering at the Island University, workspace for students is also at a premium and is one of the primary purposes of the new building.

“This new building is more than just space, it is designed to fulfill three purposes,” shared Zhang. “First and foremost this building is designed to serve as a teaching space for our electrical engineering students. It will serve as another research hotspot on campus and finally, it will provide the University with the means to attract the best and brightest students into our engineering programs.”

Miles Segler, a senior in the electrical engineering program, is one of many students who will benefit from the new teaching labs and is excited about the growth of the program.

“I am so proud that this ‘young’ program is already producing such a good group of alumni and I believe it shows we are worth investing in,” he said. “As this program grows, the prestige of the University, along with the prestige of my degree, will increase.”

After the program, attendees were invited to tour the new facilities as well as watch a demonstration of the state-of-the-art technology and networking capabilities of the new building.