EL PASO, Texas -- UTEP, UT Austin and the U.S. Space Force on Thursday began a partnership that officials say will help the U.S. maintain its predominance in aerospace technology, research, development and security.
At UTEP's campus, President Heather Wilson and Space Force Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David Thompson signed a Memorandum of Understanding that symbolizes the participation in the Space Force’s University Partnership Program.
The program will broaden scholarship, internship and mentorship opportunities for university students, help Space Force Guardians further their academic and professional development, and bolster the military and civilian aerospace sectors with some of the finest scientific minds in the country, Thompson said.
“At the heart of the Space Force’s University Partnership Program is the need to advance our science and technology to build the next generation of space capabilities coupled with the need to develop the workforce of the future,” Thompson said. “With a long history of leading aerospace research across the Paso del Norte region and beyond, we’re confident we can find such talent here at UTEP, at UT Austin and across the UT System.”
UTEP and UT Austin are among 11 colleges joining the partnership program. The universities were all selected based on a number of factors including the quality of STEM degree offerings, space-related research facilities, veteran student population, and strong ROTC programs, officials said.
The signing, according to Archie Holmes Jr., The University of Texas System Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, signifies the UT System's commitment to the highest levels of innovation in space research.
“I am proud of the aerospace leadership at UTEP and UT Austin and look forward to seeing the resources and talent of UT institutions applied to the most challenging problems the Space Force is solving,” Holmes said.
UTEP's Wilson said the partnership will strengthen an already formidable bond between the university and the aerospace industry.
“The University of Texas at El Paso has been engaged in aerospace research for decades. We are pleased to be able to support the Space Force as they develop the capabilities to protect America’s vital national interests in space,” she said. “This agreement further establishes the greater El Paso region as a leader in space flight and aerospace research.”