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Local support sought for Graduate Student Appreciation Week 2015

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
April 2, 2015

Grad Student Appreciation Week
(L-R) Mayor Pro Tem Jude Prather, Associate Dean
of the Graduate College Eric Paulson, Graduate College
Dean Andrea Golato, Assistant Dean Sandy Rao and
City Councilman John Thomaides proclaim April 6-12
as Graduate Student Appreciation Week in San Marcos.

The San Marcos community is invited to join Texas State University in supporting Graduate Student Appreciation Week, April 6-12, to recognize the contributions, impact and value of graduate and professional students at Texas State.

Texas State is seeking donations in the form of gift cards, discounts, products, promotional items or coupons to distribute during the week.

"Graduate students in the City of San Marcos, through their notable accomplishments and outstanding achievements, have contributed tremendously to the community," San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero said in proclaiming April 6-12 as Graduate Student Appreciation Week.

There are 100 graduate and professional programs offered at Texas State and more than 4,000 graduate students enrolled in these programs.

"Our nationally-recognized graduate programs draw applicants from across the nation and around the globe. Our faculty members are renowned teachers and active researchers," said Graduate College Dean Andrea Golato. "The outstanding graduate faculty has the well-deserved reputation of helping students achieve their educational goals while meeting the rigors of graduate study."

"Graduate students contribute much to the San Marcos community," said Associate Dean Eric Paulson. "Whether it’s through volunteer service in the community or service to undergraduates and research activities, they take community involvement very seriously."

Although Texas State Bobcats are praised for their service in San Marcos, their accomplishments are not limited to Central Texas. Graduate students’ studies reach outside the city into broader regions of the world, contributing to the greater good of people overall, rather than just their community.

For example, SioTeX, an interdisciplinary team from Texas State, won the Texas Halo Fund Investment Prize during the 14th Annual Rice University Business Plan Competition (RBPC) in Houston. SioTeX was formed in December 2013 and is built around advancing a technology developed in the Material Science, Engineering and Commercialization (MSEC) Ph.D. Program by team leader Haoran Chen.

With its $125,000 Texas Halo Fund Investment Prize, SioTeX will obtain the financing to construct a manufacturing facility and launch their business. SioTeX will produce and distribute Eco-Sil, an environmentally-friendly alternative to fumed silica. Eco-Sil is manufactured from rice hulls and is a renewable resource. Target markets include paint, fiberglass-reinforced plastic and tires. These markets currently account for $1.5 billion in sales annually.

"This marked the first year a Texas State team had been invited to compete in the RBPC, arguably the largest and most competitive business plan competition in the world. Texas State finished fourth overall," Golato said.

The Texas Halo Fund Investment Prize is awarded for extraordinary entrepreneurship, demonstrated by independent thinking, team motivation, fortitude, ability to change and adapt to the marketplace, and the ability to build a great idea into a globally competitive business using only a small amount of capital.

The RBPC, conducted by the Rice Alliance on the campus of Rice University, is the world’s richest and largest graduate-level student startup competition where teams pitch their business plans to investors and judges. There were more than 500 applicants this year with only 42 teams invited.

Anyone interested in supporting Graduate Student Appreciation Week may contact Paulson at (512) 245-6292 or ep27@txstate.edu.