One year after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Universidad de Chile de Santiago (USACH) to establish a faculty and student exchange, as well as a partnership for collaborative research, the College of Engineering welcomed colleagues from USACH back to Villanova in March to mark the success of year one and to set direction for the next phase of the relationship.
“We are extremely pleased with the progress this partnership has made in only one year and are very excited about the potential to offer our faculty and students new opportunities for international study and research,” says Dr. Alfonso Ortega, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research and the James R. Birle Professor of Energy. Three Ph.D. candidates from USACH are currently pursuing doctoral degrees in Mechanical Engineering at Villanova, with three more candidates slated to join the Civil and Environmental Engineering program this fall.
Visitors from USACH included Dr. Georgina Diaz, Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering; Dr. Eduardo Sepulveda, Head of the Department of Civil Engineering; Dr. Christian Seal, Professor of Civil Engineering; Dr. Jose Torres Flores, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering; and Dr. Amador Guzmán Cuevas, Director of Research and Graduate Studies at USACH. During the visit, USACH faculty met with College of Engineering faculty to discuss opportunities for a faculty exchange to help USACH build expertise in underserved areas, such as control dynamics and nano and advanced materials. They also discussed the possibility of research collaborations for bioprocessing and biotechnology, as well as conducting structural forensics investigations in the wake of Chile’s recent earthquake.
In addition to future opportunities for Villanova students and faculty, the success of the partnership’s first year has also set the stage for ongoing USACH student success. After graduation from Villanova, they will return to USACH as faculty. “At Villanova, our Ph.D. candidates have access to the best resources; great, supportive faculty and staff; and involvement in excellent, fast-moving research,” says Dr. Guzmán Cuevas.
The newest USACH students will arrive on campus this summer to prepare for their entry into the College’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Ph.D. program this fall.