Aggie, Ingeniero June 2011


NMSU engineering students earn spot in high-performance computing institute

Samantha Chacon and Michael A. Chavez, electrical and computer engineering students at NMSU, have been accepted into the Army High Performance Computing Research Center’s 2011 Summer Institute at Stanford University. The highly competitive program is for undergraduates interested in computational science and engineering.

The objectives of the institute are to provide training and hands-on experience in the use of computational techniques for science and engineering students, and to prepare them for graduate studies. The program curriculum combines short courses in computational engineering methods with research experience working with one of the AHPCRC research groups at Stanford University.

“The Army High Performance Computing Research Center Summer School is a very prestigious program that only accepts the top students from across the country. It is a great honor for NMSU to have two students accepted,” said electrical engineering professor Steven Stochaj.

Both Chacon and Chavez are Las Cruces natives. Chacon graduated from Mayfield High School and Chavez from Oñate High School.

Chacon has been active in NMSU’s Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers student chapter, has worked as an undergraduate research assistant for Stochaj and computer engineering assistant professor Jeanine Cook. Chacon started her research as an Alliance for Minority Participation student.

Chavez has served as vice president of external affairs for IEEE and is the electrical engineering team lead for the newly formed NMSU Lunabotics Team, comprised from mechanical and electrical engineering students. The teams work together to build a moon robot.

To take advantage of the high-performance computing summer institute, Chacon decided to postpone her graduation until next December so that she could attend the high-performance computing summer program.

“This program will give me the field experience that I need. Also, it will make me a more independent person so I can accomplish whatever I need to,” Chacon said.

“This program will give me strong leadership skills, which are helpful to carryout tasks well and in an organized way,” Chavez said.

Chacon and Chavez have not placed any limitations on themselves following completion of their undergraduate degrees.

“At this time I am considering going for my master’s in engineering, but am leaving my options open for any opportunity that comes my way,” Chacon said.

“It’s difficult to say right now what my plans are after graduation, because I am enjoying school and this opportunity is just incredible to be a part of. However, I enjoy working in the power lab for my class work and would like to pursue a career in that field,” Chavez said.

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