Educational and Research Activities at the Student Research Development Center of the Ana G. Mendez University System
Juan F. Arratia
The Ana G. Mendez University System (AGMUS), the second university system in Puerto Rico, includes three main campuses- Universidad Metropolitana (UMET), Universidad del Turabo (UT) and Universidad del Este (UNE), sixteen off-campus centers (three in Florida) serving underrepresented minority students, a PBS Television Station, and a recently started Universidad Virtual. The total AGMUS enrollment is 42,000 students, 3,726 full-time and adjunct faculty, multiple, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) BSD and graduate programs.
Dr. Juan F. Arratia, Executive Director of the Student Research Development Center (SRDC) is the most successful executive in the history of AGMUS in attracting funds from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for educational and research development of Puerto Rico students. He is acting as Principal Investigator for the following projects: (1) AGMUS Institute of Mathematics; (2) Caribbean Computing Center for Excellence (CCCE); (3) Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar (AMISR); and (4) Puerto Rico Atmospheric Major Research Laser Instrumentation Program (PR-Laser). He is also co-author, and the Co-PI of the Cooperative Agreement for the Administration of the Arecibo Observatory (AO), from October 1st, 2011 until September 30th, 2016. The total amount of these grants is $49 million. In addition, Dr. Arratia was involved with the first cooperative agreement of AGMUS with NSF titled Model Institutions for Excellence (MIE) for thirteen years ending in 2008. The grant gave to AGMUS funds exceeding $30 million.
UMET and The Arecibo Observatory are developing the Puerto Rico Photonics Institute at the facilities of the Barceloneta Scientific Research Park in northern Puerto Rico. This institute is partnering with Honeywell, the Aguadilla facility, in the development of laser technology for GPS Instrumentation and laser applications in navigation systems. Honeywell is negotiating the implementation of an MS in Aerospace Engineering with AGMUS. The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded 2.3 million to UMET for the construction of an Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar (AMISR) at the geomagnetic conjugate point of the Arecibo Observatory in La Plata, Argentina. The Principal Investigator of the project is working with Stanford Research Institute (SRI) for the construction, transportation and installation of the radar in Argentina. The main objective of this radar is to study the plasma flow at the ionosphere in conjunction with a heater at the Arecibo Observatory. The AMISR facility in Argentina will be operated in partnership with Universidad de La Plata, the Arecibo Observatory and AGMUS, impacting undergraduate, graduate students, faculty and scientists from Puerto Rico, Argentina, and the US scientific community.
This presentation will address the history of the transformation of the AGMUS institutions from liberal art colleges to a leading undergraduate research organization in Puerto Rico by describing the outcome of each grant sponsored by the NSF.