The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s Sandia National Laboratories hosts scholarship competition for current students at Texas A&M University
This past weekend, Sandia National Laboratories hosted a weekend long Aggies Invent competition at the Zachary Engineering Education Complex on the campus of Texas A&M University. Aggies Invent is a 48-hour intensive design experience offered by the Texas A&M University Engineering Entrepreneurship Program.
The competition began Friday evening with Jim Donnell, Professor of Practice and Director, Engineering Entrepreneurship Program, introducing nearly 50 students to what would be their keys to success, and ending Sunday afternoon with the distribution of over $9,000 in scholarship awards.
Each team of competitors was given a statement that described a national security issue that required pioneering theory to be transitioned into an actual product. Statement topics included everything from using A.I. cyber-sentry programs to help detect airport security threats, to identifying ways to stabilize defects within 3-D printing utilizing knowledge garnered from recently discovered advancements among self-healing materials.
Chrisma Jackson, Director of Cybersecurity and Mission Computing, and Chief Information Security Officer for Sandia National Laboratories, was on-site as a judge for the event. When asked, “What do you feel is the long-term impact of this invent event and one’s like them?” Jackson replied, “To expose students to complex national security problems. The event helps to build excitement around solving national level engineering problems. We’re not just trying to cheapen a widget; we’re trying to solve critical issues impacting the nation.” Ms. Jackson holds a Bachelor of Science and master’s in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University, and an MS in Engineering Mechanics with a specialization in Explosive Theory from New Mexico Tech University.
The Texas A&M University System’s National Laboratories Office Assistant Vice Chancellor, Arnold Muyshondt, spent 25 years working at Sandia National Laboratories, an NNSA veteran. His thoughts regarding these invent competitions are, “They’re great events; a conduit to help connect students to the national labs and challenge our brightest minds while having fun in the process.”
Mark Martin, Mechanical Design Manager for Sandia National Laboratories, and competition judge commented that, “Some of the national security problems the students are trying to solve are real world problems. This competition allows students to take an idea and turn it into part per se, or part in hand. Whether these kids come to work at Sandia or start their own businesses someday; it’s a great event that we’re proud to be part of.”
Events happening later this Fall include, Panthers Invent at Prairie View Texas A&M University; also sponsored by Sandia National Laboratory.
In October, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), will host another Aggies Invent scholarship competition on campus at Texas A&M University.
Evelyn Mullen, Former Weapons Executive at LANL and on-site advisor to the System’s National Laboratories Office hopes to see the following at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Aggie Invent competition later this year. “At Los Alamos, we take on the hardest national security challenges. We’re looking for students that show exceptional abilities to work as part of multi-disciplinary teams to convert ideas into actionable solutions to address real-world national security problems. This event is an opportunity to showcase exceptional Aggie talent.” Said Mullen.
In July, Evelyn Mullen, formerly the Weapons Program Executive Officer at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), began a new role as Senior Advisor to the Texas A&M President and Vice Chancellor of National Laboratories in College Station. She remains an employee of LANL and operates under a joint appointment with the Texas A&M University System based in College Station. She is a member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of ’86.
The Texas A&M University System’s National Laboratories Office Supports the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories in execution of their missions as they relate to national security and service.
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $7.2 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, a comprehensive health science center, eight state agencies, and the RELLIS Campus, the Texas A&M System educates more than 152,000 students and makes more than 24 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceed $1 billion and help drive the state’s economy.
Sandia National Laboratories is operated and managed by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC., a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International, Inc. National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia operates Sandia National Laboratories as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and supports numerous federal, state, and local government agencies, companies, and organizations.