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Office of Research and Sponsored Programs



The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) supports faculty, staff and students in the creation and dissemination of new knowledge through ethical scholarship, research and creative activities. UHD ORSP is dedicated to providing quality pre-award support, post-award accounting, and compliance oversight for contracts and grants. UHD ORSP will facilitate innovation, increase faculty agency, enrich student experiences, showcase faculty and student scholarly and creative achievements, and find creative solutions to the scholarly and creative needs of faculty to realize the Mission and Vision of UHD.


Empowering faculty, fostering novel and interdisciplinary research and creative activities, while building a culture of scholarship built on trust, collaboration, communication, and shared purpose.​

Recently Funded Sponsored P​rojects

Dr. Youn-Sha Chan, ​​Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs would like to congratulate Dr. Chan and his Co-PIs on his award from the U.S. Department of Defense for the project entitled “Optical Measurements and Advanced Material Modeling” in the amount of $261,000.00, term of grant 02/01/14 – 01/31/15.


Project OMAMM seeks to develop an understanding of the underlying physics of materials that are of interest to the Army, by acquiring ARAMIS, a highly robust, full-field, non-contact strain measurement tool that utilizes the highly accurate principals of digital image correlation. ARAMIS is a complete optical analysis system for dynamic measurement of complex materials and structures. The system will enable us to perform rapid material characterization studies and deformation analysis in materials and components. The ARAMIS, while being easy to use and understand, is also an industrial grade solution providing all necessary functionalities from basic materials testing to complex research tasks.  UHD test labs/stress labs have a few primary measurement tools such as strain gages for measuring strain; LVDT’s for measuring displacement; and Accelerometer’s for measuring acceleration. These are all very accurate tools for collecting strain and deformation data at a few points, which can take weeks or months, as compared to thousands of points with the ARAMIS’s digital image correlation systems (DIC), which can take days or hours. To make the interpretation even easier, the data is presented in 3D contour plots similar to finite element analysis (FEA). With this 3D, contour plot and points can be analyzed, section cuts can be made, and this data can be fed directly back to one’s FEA model for validation. In effect, ARAMIS is a great tool for collecting quantitative data on designs or processes that are very difficult to measure by contemporary technologies.​

This research project is a collaborative among UHD’ Department of Mathematics & Statistics, Department of Computer Sciences & Engineering Technology, and Department of Natural Sciences.  With this ARAMIS equipment, teaching and learning at UHD will be more interesting, efficient, effective, and subsequently increase student: i) interest in STEM careers; ii) enrollment in STEM degree programs; iii) STEM research; iv) graduation in STEM programs, and v) employment in STEM careers.


From Left to Right: Dr. Michael Tobin, Dr. Youn-Sha Chan, and Dr. Vassilios Tzouanas (missing from the photo are Dr. Jorge Tito and Dr. Edwin Tecarro)


Dr. Mary Jo Parker,​ Director of the Scholars Academy

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs would like to congratulate Dr. Mary Jo Parker and her Co- PIs on her award from The United States Department of Education, for her project entitled “UHD Modeling Intended STEM Success,” term of grant 10/01/13 – 09/30/16 in the amount of $749,444.

The goal of UHD's institutional research project, Modeling Intended STEM Success, is to utilize a program that encourages, prepares, and supports minority STEM students, particularly minority women, to successful completion of the baccalaureate STEM degree, especially targeting the first and second years as well as the first-semester and second-semester courses through a five categorical student support approach including: 1) Freshman Ramp-Up; 2) Academic Skill Monitoring; 3) Mentoring; 4) Career/Research Skill Development; and 5) Leadership Development. This model program, known as the Scholars Academy reflects the full-exposure model this research will examine.​

From Left to Right: Rene' Garcia, Dr. Brad Hoge, Dr. Amy Baird, Dr. Mary Jo Parker, Dr. Katarina Jegdic, and Dr. Mian Jiang


Dr. Sarah Walker,​ Assistant Professor of Mgmt, Mkt. and Business Admin.

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs would like to congratulate Dr. Walker on her award from the U.S. Department of Education for the project entitled “Development of MBA Concentration in Financial Business Research,” term of grant 10/01/13 to 09/30/18 in the amount of $600,000.


The Minorities and Retirement Security (MRS) grant is a grant funded by the Social Security Administration. The grant is designed to increase the research capacity of Minority Serving Institutions by creating opportunities for funded research in the area of financial literacy and financial decision making. The College of Business will use these funds to provide support for graduate, specifically, Master of Business Administration (MBA), students to gain valuable research experience, and pursue their educational goals full-time, while receiving high-quality research training that will expand the pool of talented researchers in the areas of retirement security, financial literacy, and financial decision-making. Specifically, the grant provides tuition and stipends for fellows.


The project’s design draws upon the scientist-practitioner model which serves as a roadmap to achieve the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the proposed Research Fellowships. Specifically, the project has four goals: 1) increasing knowledge, 2) conducting empirical research, 3) conducting translational research, and 4) impacting the public by raising awareness and facilitating change. Each of these goals will contribute to the proposed project’s overarching purpose which is to develop graduate student researchers who conduct rigorous research in the areas of retirement security, financial literacy, and financial decision-making. ​



The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs would like to congratulate Mr. Rex White on his two awards from the Texas Department of Transportation for the projects entitled “Standardized Field Sobriety Testing/Blood Warrant/Mobile Video Updates” in the amount of $240,800.00 and “Mobile Video Instructor Training Course”in the amount of $414,155.07, term of grants 10/01/13 – 09/30/14.


The Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Updates & Blood Search Warrant training, provides an up to date, 1 day training class for Peace Officers covering the new CASE LAWS affecting the use of Blood Search Warrants in DWI & INTOXICATION MANSLAUGHTER cases.

The Mobile Video Instructor Training Course provides Peace Officers with a free training program to provide agencies with Instructors & Field Training Officers in the area of Mobile Video Cameras in Police Units. This training qualifies the arresting officer to use the video records of the offense & arrest for prosecution. This grant has greatly helped to improve the conviction rate for DWIcases in Texas.

Through both of these grants, UHD’s Criminal Justice Training Center has been able to help Texas Peace Officers meet their “In Service Training Requirements” required by Law for no cost to them or their Departments. Both of these grants (obtained through Texas Dept. of Transportation) are helping to remove Dangerous Drivers from our Highways, making the Highways safer for all of our families.


Mr. Rex White, Director of the UHD Criminal Justice Center


Dr. Tyra Hessel, Associate Profe​ssor of Natural Sciences

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs would like to congratulate Dr. Tyra Hessel on her award from the Joint Admissions Medical Program (JAMP) for the “UHD JAMP Program Distribution for FY 2014 ,” term of grant 09/01/13 – 08/31/14 in the amount of $13,500.00.


The Joint Admissions Medical Program (JAMP) was created by the Texas Legislature to encourage and support highly qualified, economically disadvantaged Texas resident students pursuing a medical education. The goal of JAMP is to help Texas students become tomorrow’s medical professionals by proving: financial support through undergraduate and medical school scholarships, mentoring and personal assistance to prepare the student for medical school while attending college, hands-on experience at medical schools through summer internships, and guaranteed admission to a Texas medical school if the student meets all program requirements. With respect to JAMP and UHD, funding is provided to mentor and provide personal assistance to qualified students interested in going to medical school.​


Dr. Tyra Hessel, Associate Professor of Natural Sciences


Mr. Mark Cervenk​​a, Director of O`Kane Gallery and Associate Professor of Art

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs would like to congratulate Mr. Mark Cervenka on his award from the Houston Arts Alliance for the project entitled “Austere Beauty: The Art of Z. Vanessa Helder,” in the amount of $1,823.77, term of grant 07/01/13 – 06/30/14.

Project Description

The O’Kane Gallery at the University of Houston – Downtown was recently awarded a program grant from the Houston Arts Alliance to support their Spring 2014 exhibition: Austere Beauty: The Art of Z. Vanessa Helder – the first major survey exhibition of the work of the modernist painter Z. Vanessa Helder (1904-1968). Organized by Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma Washington, this exhibit will be on view at the O’Kane Gallery from January 23 to March 6, 2014.The exhibition will be accompanied by a 128 page full-color soft-bound catalogue.

Description of Exhibit

The artistic career of Z. Vanessa Helder “spanned several periods of major change in American art from the advent of modernism in the early part of the 20th century to the rise of abstraction in the post-war years,” according to Margaret Bullock, Curator of Collections at Tacoma Art Museum. “This exhibition and catalogue will create a permanent record of Helder’s career and her contributions to mid 20th century Northwest and American modernism as well as restore her work to a broader national audience.” The O’Kane Gallery at the University of Houston – Downtown is excited and honored to be a part of Tacoma Art Museum’s effort in bringing Helder’s work to the diverse audience here in Houston. And, of course, the O’Kane Gallery is very proud to have generous support from the Houston Arts Alliance to do so.

Mr. Mark Cervenka, Director of O'Kane Gallery and Associate Professor of Art



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Last updated 11/14/2017 4:09 AM