Cutting edge research in a new generation of solar energy technology was the furthest thing from Shawn Bourdo’s teenage mind when he started to look at colleges as a senior at Cabot High School in 1997.
He was more interested in playing tennis, despite having grades stout enough to get into Marquette University and Rhodes College. But because he had come to know the UALR tennis coach, Bourdo found himself as a freshman enrolled at UALR.
Three UALR degrees later, Bourdo is a post-doctoral chemist at the new Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences, working on the Vertically Integrated Center for Transformative Energy Research – VICTER.
The project involves the development of new power electronics that will interface with the national energy grid. It is part of the $20 million investment the National Science Foundation is making in Arkansas research and development.
“That’s what the Nano center offers – the ability for me to stay here potentially long-term,” Bourdo said. “The growth at UALR is amazing – the research and the campus overall.”
He added, “Friends and family being close helped keep me here. And just the growth the university was going through at the time, there wasn’t much of a driving force to leave. I kind of planned on doing that after finishing up, and still haven’t left.”
Q&A with Shawn
What led you to UALR? Opportunity to both play college tennis and get quality education
What was your favorite class? Organic Chemistry
If you could spend one day anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why? Antarctica, one of the places here on earth that a person could really experience nothingness and an environment that is other-worldly.
What one word would you use to describe yourself? Easygoing