Cougar Milestones Banner

Student Team Competes in Final Round of NASA Space Robotics Challenge

Shireen Bahadur, Vamsi Ghorakavi, and Saurabh Sogi are competing in the NASA Space Robotics Challenge finals on June 13-16. Photo courtesy of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Saurabh Sogi, a computer science major at the University of Houston's College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, along with friends Shireen Bahadur from the University of Texas at Dallas and Vamsi Ghorakavi from the University of Texas at Austin, are one of twenty teams participating in the finals of the NASA Space Robotics Challenge.

Competing as BIT PLEASE, the team has been working with NASA's Robonaut 5, also known as "Valkyrie," a robot designed to help astronauts complete complicated or dangerous tasks on long missions. For the preliminary round, teams were tasked with programming the robot in real-time to identify a sequence of lights, as well as open a door by pressing a button and then walking through that door.

For the final round, taking place June 13-16, the team will need to program Valkyrie to align a communications dish, repair a solar array, and fix a habitat leak during a simulated dust storm on Mars. Read the full story.

American Sign Language Massive Open Online Course Made Possible by UH Professors

Professor Sharon Hill
Professor Sharon Hill reviews footage for the ASLI MOOC she designed and helped create. Photo courtesy of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Sharon Hill, instructional assistant professor and undergraduate program coordinator with the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences' American Sign Language Interpreting (ASLI) program, is seeing the fruits of her labor - two years of designing and refining a proposal to create a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) conducted in American Sign Language. Titled "American Deaf Culture," and available via Coursera, the six-week course is taught by Terrell Brittain, a instructional assistant professor in ASLI at UH. It provides a historical overview of the American deaf community and explores its culture.

"I thought that MOOCs would be ideal for leveling the playing field for deaf individuals who were still stigmatized or prevented from accessing education," states Hill. "However, I soon realized that the only way to make the MOOC truly accessible would be to create one delivered in sign language." Read the full story.

Like the Office of the Provost on Facebook and Instagram!

For features on your classmates, colleagues, professors, students, and more, follow the UH Office of the Provost on Facebook and Instagram. We'd love to connect with you!

University News

With the support of grant money and donors, UH was able to purchase six drones for a three-week class focused on visual storytelling created by Temple Northup, director and associate professor of the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication. The course is designed to prepare students for a remote-pilot certification that would allow them to fly drones commercially. Read the full story.

Integricote, created by a physicist at UH, is expanding its business nationally. The company produces sealers and stains for wood, masonry, and concrete using a nanotechnology-based formula. Read the full story.

Britney Shum, an industrial engineering undergraduate student, recalls her fall internship experience with The Walt Disney Company in Anaheim, California and how it has provided clarity for her future career. Read the full story.

Provost Short is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Tony Ambler for the position of Dean of the College of Technology. Dr. Ambler joins UH from the University of South Carolina where he currently serves as the Academic Director in the Office of Economic Engagement and a Professor in Electrical Engineering. Previously, he served as Dean of the College of Engineering & Computing at the University of South Carolina and Department Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

Travels with Shasta

Shasta in Paris

Shasta's hanging out in Paris, France with MBA students from the C.T. Bauer College of Business who are participating in a faculty-led learning abroad experience!

Be sure to tag @uhprovost and add #travelswithshasta on Instagram, tweet @SashaProf, or email to share your experiences - in Houston or abroad - with our favorite Coog! View all of Shasta's travels on the Office of the Provost website.


e cullen drawing

Paula Myrick Short, Provost | | 832.842.0550 |

This is an official message sent by the University of Houston. To verify the validity of this message, visit or email