TAMU-CC Research and Innovation Week 2023 Celebrates an Ecosystem of Innovation

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi honored scholarship, innovation, and creativity throughout the Island campus during the third annual Research and Innovation (R&I) Week, April 10-14.

The weeklong celebration offered events including expert panel discussions, workshops, demonstrations, and networking mixers with the hopes of inspiring Islander faculty, staff, and students to seek collaborative and innovative pathways to expand their research beyond the confines of campus.

Dr. Kelly M. Miller, TAMU-CC President and CEO, said the annual event provides a platform for the university’s brightest and boldest thinkers to create a broader Islander Impact.

“Research, scholarship, and creative activity provide an opportunity for people across campus to come together in collaborative ways to solve problems,” Miller said. “No problem exists only in one discipline. By working together, we can make an incredible impact, not only for our students, but also for our community, our nation, and for the world.”

The week began with the R&I Kickoff event, where representatives from the university’s colleges and various research centers and institutes gathered to showcase the latest innovations in nursing, drone technology, Gulf of Mexico research, and more. Day two invited the campus community to hear from local media experts during the Research Communication Panel and Workshop, where those in attendance learned the ins and outs of communicating research to the media from two of the area’s most seasoned journalists – Bill Churchwell, reporter/anchor for KIII-TV3, and Rachel Clow ’20, specialty producer for investigative and enterprise at KRIS/KZTV/KAJA.

Day three included an open house and tour of the Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center of Excellence and Innovation, an FAA test site and university research center. Wanese Butler ’91, TAMU-CC Financial Conflict of Interest and Export Control Officer, said the chance to get an inside look at “the home of unmanned flight” was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

“I was not only impressed with the Lone Star facilities, but also how fascinated my fellow Islanders were to see and better understand drones,” Butler said. “This tour provided us with glimpses into the unique facility operations of one of TAMU-CC’s jewels.”

Day four joined together research faculty and students alike during the Inspiring Innovations and Reimagining Research Panel, which was moderated by Dr. Hassan Aziz, Dean of the TAMU-CC College of Nursing and Health Sciences. The panel featured faculty across multiple disciplines including humanities, science, and engineering who discussed innovative approaches to interdisciplinary research. The panel was followed by a faculty and staff research mixer hosted by the Council of Principal Investigators and Research Administrators (CPIRA).

The week wrapped up with an awards ceremony where Islander faculty, staff, and students were recognized for their achievements. Dr. Ahmed Mahdy, Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation, expressed his gratitude for their commitment to excellence.

“Awardees, you are innovators because you work hard, you create and invent every day in the classroom, in the studio, in the lab, in the field, or wherever it might be; you are innovators!” Mahdy said. “From interviewing with local media, to serving on the United Nation’s expert panels, or presenting your work all over the world, you bring pride to A&M-CC.”

This year’s awards ceremony presented faculty with the Inaugural Research and Innovation Excellence Awards. Winners included:

  • Lifetime Research Achievement Award – Dr. Philippe Tissot, Associate Research Professor and the Conrad Blucher Institute Chair for Coastal Artificial Intelligence
  • Innovation and Impact Award – Dr. Michael Starek, Associate Professor of Geospatial Systems Engineering and the Conrad Blucher Institute Chair for Remote Sensing and Autonomous Systems for Geomatics
  • Multidisciplinary Award – Dr. Jennifer Epley-Sanders, Professor of Political Science
  • Research Staff Achievement Award – Erin Hill ’97, ’01, Center for Coastal Studies Research Specialist
  • Early Career Achievement Award – Dr. Mohamed Ahmed, Assistant Professor of Physical and Environmental Sciences
  • Research Advocate Award – Gina Concannon, Associate Executive Director of the Conrad Blucher Institute

The ceremony also announced the winners of the Research Image Student Competition. This year’s first prize winner of $200 was marine biology doctoral candidate David Armstrong ’26 for his photo titled “Small animal, with a big impact, in a changing world.”

To learn more about research opportunities at the Island University, click here