Providing Innovative Experiences in Materials Science & Engineering Education


Since 2006 the West Houston Center for Science & Engineering (WHC) has served as a catalyst for educational innovation for HCC science and engineering bound students. The WHC, through external funding, provides vision, leadership, development and implementation of unique science and engineering learning and instructional programs and activities. Since the inception of the Center over a hundred HCC students have had the opportunity to participate in science, engineering, and materials science academic and career building activities. 

The focus on the broad multidisciplinary area of materials science and materials engineering MSME provides an opportunity for students to develop an appreciation of the academic pathways and career choices which available to each student.  As noted in a recent National Academy of Engineering report, “The economy in which we will work will be strongly influenced by the global marketplace for engineering services, evidenced by the outsourcing of engineering jobs, a growing need for interdisciplinary and system-based approaches, demands for the new paradigms of customization, and increasingly international talent pool.”

The WHC has established itself as a center for innovation through its nationally recognized track record and unique opportunities afforded to select cohorts of HCC students.  The Center continues to groom and provide the motivation for HCC students to be successful in their studies at HCC, their undergraduate and graduate studies and in the workplace.  The West Houston Center serves as a catalyst that provides innovative educational approaches and programs which facilitates a positive return on investment for students and the community.


Numerous accomplishments

Over the past decade, the Center Director has generated over $1.60 million in funding to support these programs and activities from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Homeland Security, NASA-Texas Space Grant Consortium, the Department of Defense, the HCC Foundation, the HCC Chancellor’s Innovation Award and corporate foundations.  Financial support has resulted in substantive educational and career impacts for HCC students which include:

  • The opportunity for high school students to experience basic research at the University of Houston through support from the Department of Defense
  • Opportunities for HCC students to participate in high level research at regional universities and at Sandia National Laboratory (NM) which have been supported by the Department of Homeland Security, NASA- Texas Space Grant Consortium and the National Science Foundation
  • Opportunities for selected cohorts of students to participate in special topic courses in materials science, high performance computing, biosciences, and software programming supported by the Department of Homeland Security, NSF, and the HCC Chancellor’s Innovation Award
  • Over $250,000 in scholarships and support, which have been provided to HCC students who participated in various WHC programs supported through the Department of Homeland Security, NASA-Texas Space Grant Consortium, NSF and the HCC Foundation
  • Academic and research scholarships, which have been given to HCC students who have a demonstrated interest in exploring materials science research supported through corporate gifts and the HCC Foundation
  • Academic and career advising activities for all WHC students.


Federally funded projects currently supporting WHC programs

  • NSF funded award “Research Experiences and Exploration in Materials Science for Houston Community College Science and Engineering Students” $729, 292. The WHC Director serves as Principal Investigator and Project Director. 2015 – 2018.
  • NSF funded award “Houston Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation – Senior Alliance (HRD-1407736)” $240,065. The WHC Director serves as Co-Principal Investigator. 2014 – 2019.
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission funded award “Teaming up to Produce Nuclear Power Certifications (UHD Nuclear Prep) (NRC-HQ-84-14-G-0028)” $98, 904 The WHC Director serves as Co-Principal Investigator. 2014-2016.
  • NASA funded award “C2 STEM Transitions” $38,000. The WHC Director serves as Co-Principal Investigator. 2015- 2017 (amended)