The University of Texas at Dallas

Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science

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Engagement Team Expands Reach of Jonsson School

Engagement Team Expands Reach of Jonsson School

In July, Christopher Bhatti (MAT ’12), assistant dean for development and alumni relations in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, traveled to China to speak about innovation and engagement to audiences in four different cities.  

Invited by the International Technology Transfer Network, an extension of the Chinese government that encourages global collaboration with top universities, Bhatti shared with potential supporters and partners the opportunities to develop and grow tech startups at UT Dallas.

“There’s constant invention and opportunity in the Jonsson School,” Bhatti said.  “Researchers are making breakthroughs; new buildings are opening and under construction; and students are designing cutting-edge tech. I want to share these stories to create partnerships and increase attractiveness of further economic development in North Texas through innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Bhatti also added that he wanted to find new avenues to make international alumni and students feel welcomed by and engaged with the University.  

In China, Bhatti was joined by a team of UT Dallas reps, including Bryan Chambers, director of Blackstone LaunchPad, a campus-based global entrepreneurship program designed to support and mentor students, staff and alumni. Bhatti helped develop Blackstone LaunchPad at UT Dallas while participating in the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a leadership initiative through the Bush and Clinton Presidential Centers.

Also making the trip to China was Dr. Walter Voit (BS ’05, MS ’06) who is an associate professor in both the mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering departments. Voit presented new ideas and technology he developed in his company, Adaptive 3D Technologies. Adaptive 3D makes extremely tough and soft 3D printed polymers by creating custom materials specifically designed to be printed. Advanced processing techniques result in parts that can be used directly in practical applications.

“Aside from his role as professor at the University, Dr. Voit is also an alumnus of the Jonsson School,” Bhatti added. “So, his presentation was a great illustration to our audience that UT Dallas faculty, students and alumni are at the forefront of invention and entrepreneurship. He also showed how invention and tech development from the lab can result in new, global partnerships.”

Since assuming his role as assistant dean in May of 2016, Bhatti has spearheaded many efforts – like his trip to China – to expand engagement of the Jonsson School. His work has not gone unnoticed. Bhatti was named a recipient of a 2017 Dallas Business Journal Minority Business Leader Award. He was honored alongside officials from numerous organizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including Pepsico, Comerica Bank, DFW International Airport and the Dallas Cowboys Football Club.

“This recognition was a tremendous honor,” Bhatti said. “It was also an honor that the Jonsson School was acknowledged alongside these great companies that call Dallas home.”

Bhatti has also helped faculty to receive recognitions of their own. In August, he nominated Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham, who holds the Louis A. Beecherl, Jr. Distinguished Professor Chair, for the Dallas Business Journal's 2017 Women in Technology Awards. A professor of computer science and the executive director of the Cyber Security Research and Education Institute at UT Dallas, Thuraisingham was named an honoree. The Award champions women that are “mavericks when it comes to technology and innovation, forging the way for both women and future tech leaders in Dallas-Fort Worth.”

“Thuraisingham has been a passionate advocate for women in cyber security and computing for the better part two decades,” Bhatti said. “She mentors and promotes young women in the field and recently co-chaired an 800-person Women in Cyber Security conferences at Dallas. She actively recruits female students into UT Dallas’ cyber security program and has graduated several female students with PhDs.

“If anyone is deserving of this award, I’m glad to say it’s one of our own faculty – she’s a true champion of bringing more women into the STEM fields,” Bhatti said.

Also receiving a Women in Technology Award was UT Dallas alumna Shradha Aiyer, director of mobile technologies at Axxess, a Dallas-based technology company that streamlines operations for health care agencies. Aiyer received her master’s degree in computer science in 2013.

Bhatti’s last year and half working at UT Dallas was not his first introduction to the University; he is also an alumnus, earning a master of arts in teaching (MAT) in science education in 2012.

Before his return to campus, Bhatti served as the director of external and alumni relations
in the Office of the Dean at SMU's Simmons School of Education, where he was responsible for fundraising strategies and alumni relations for all programs at the School.

Prior to SMU, Bhatti was a science instructor at The Hockaday School where he spent six years in the classroom teaching science and coaching. He also built the robotics program, which integrated a STEM curriculum for the middle school. While at Hockaday, he founded a tutoring company, Mindful Learning, LLC, which adapted the Teach for America model for high school students, which he sold in 2010.

Bhatti is the first assistant dean of development in Jonsson School history – his passion is providing meaningful ways for all alumni and supporters to engage with the Jonsson School and UT Dallas. To get involved with the Jonsson School or to engage with Bhatti’s team, visit our website.

Chris Bhatti

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Contact Christopher Bhatti for more information, or visit our website.


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