Tulsa universities and businesses receive all of OCAST intern funding in most recent cycle
June 28, 2012
During the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology’s most recent funding cycle, Tulsa universities and businesses swept the Intern Partnership category receiving all of the available funding.
Applicants from around the state competed in the process and the most qualified were selected by an out-of-state review panel of experts in the fields of science and engineering.
The funding was awarded to faculty at the University of Tulsa to provide internships for its students at Tulsa businesses Covanta Energy, GWACS Defense and Electranetics. Funding was also awarded to Magnesium Products Inc., a Tulsa company who has partnered with Oral Roberts University.
“We’ve been working with Tulsa technology-based businesses to help increase awareness of funding opportunities,” said Cornell L. Cross II, associate director of OCAST programs in Tulsa. “We’re happy to see growth in interest from the area.”
This round of Intern Partnerships awards will connect college students and faculty with scientific and technical businesses making advancements in energy, chemistry, the environment and national defense.
“OCAST’s intern program is designed to assist in Oklahoma job creation as well as advance our students’ and faculties’ skill sets,” said Cross. “Many of the college students who participate in the program become employees of the small businesses that sponsor them. Ultimately, we want to keep our best and brightest students in the state after graduation, help local businesses grow their work force and expand their product base to grow the local economy.”
Michael Keller of the University of Tulsa will oversee two mechanical engineering students who will work with engineers at Covanta Energy to develop a tire processor that meets the requirements of the Tulsa-based energy from waste facility. Because used tires represent a persistent issue with regard to safe and effective disposal, a successful outcome will lead to a new manufacturing project for Oklahoma.
Lawrence Wheeler of Magnesium Products Inc. will work with a chemistry intern from Oral Roberts University in the research and testing of a raw product used in making sodium diacetate, a chemical used as a preservative that prevents mold growth or a food additive that has a salt and vinegar flavor. Following evaluations, the resulting product will be expanded into pharmaceuticals and food products.
Surendra Singh of the University of Tulsa will oversee two interns at GWACS Defense as they learn the phases of engineering design, development, testing and manufacturing of acoustic gunshot detection systems for ground vehicles and helicopter-borne environmental and tactical conditions.
Singh will also oversee two interns as they work under the guidance of three mentors at Electranetics where they will work on smart grid components that include smart outlet, light switch, power control gateway and power junction boxes. The project will investigate ways to create technology and modeling tools to conserve energy.
Each successful application was awarded $60,000 for two years. The award money from OCAST covers half of student salaries, equipment, supplies and travel costs, with the other half paid by the sponsoring companies.
OCAST is the state agency that provides funding to Oklahoma-based scientists, researchers, businesses, manufacturers and organizations in an effort to help them discover new products, treatments and technology. Beyond the internship program, OCAST funds research in many technology areas including health, nanotechnology, plant science and manufacturing.
For future solicitations in Intern Partnerships or any other OCAST program, visit www.ocast.ok.gov or call 866-265-2215.