New UTRGV physics program expands learning opportunities in Valley

1 year 3 weeks 3 days ago Friday, February 25 2022 Feb 25, 2022 February 25, 2022 8:57 AM February 25, 2022 in News - Local

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s new physics program is growing as the Valley's space industry expands, as well.

Moises Castillo, a Brownsville native, is a first-year physics student at UTRGV’s first class of Ph.D. candidates.

"Before, for a lot of people, they thought that they would need to leave home or leave the area where they grew up, but now there's a lot more opportunities for people here," Castillo said.

The Ph.D. program’s first semester this spring included eight students. Nine more students are expected this fall. The Ph.D. program follows the bachelor’s and master’s programs developed over the last two decades. It’s now expanding as the space industry in the Valley expands, too.

"The grant funding that we got from NASA and the National Science Foundation—the University of Texas Brownsville, this small university down the Valley— was number 4 in research expenditures in space science,” said UTRGV physics professor Dr. Mario Diaz. “So, we developed a group in space science and astrophysics and eventually was creating opportunities for developing synergies with technologies related to the space industry."

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