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Science education at Sul Ross State and in West Texas made an exciting advance in April of 2013 with the delivery of a state-of-the art Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). The microscope, along with lab upgrades exceeding $500,000, is administered by the Adelante Tejas program at Sul Ross, in partnership with San Antonio College, to increase enrollment, progress and graduation in the sciences. The project is 100 percent funded through a U.S. Department of Education grant (#P031C110039). Dr. Kevin Urbanczyk, professor of geology and director of the Rio Grande Research Center, is the principal investigator.

The SEM adds significantly to the school’s research capacity and will be available to all students and faculty for a broad array of basic education and research in the natural and physical sciences. “A student attending a larger school probably wouldn’t get close to a SEM as an undergrad," Urbanczyk said.

Science Friday

The Scanning Electron Microscope was offcially unveiled on April 26, 2013; a day of science-related activities dubbed Science Friday. It began with an appearance on Marfa Public Radio's Talk at Ten program to discuss the new microscope (listen to the show) by Kevin Urbanczyk, Leslie Hopper, program director for Adelante Tejas, and Dr. James Ward, professor of geology at Angelo State University, who gave the evening's capstone lecture titled, "Small(ish) Texas Towns, Fast Horses, and the Magnificent Study of Geology."

In the interim, the public was welcomed with refreshments and games designed at learning about the SEM. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony featured speeches by Dr.Urbancyzk and Dr. Jim Case, who was the Sul Ross State Arts and Sciences Dean at the time.


Left to right: Dr. Jim Case cuts the ribbon to the new home of the Scanning Electron Microscope, as Leslie Hopper, program director for Adelante Tejas, and Rebecca Loos, analytical lab technician, look on.



At the Science Friday reception everyone was invited to guess images from the SEM, and winners received prizes.