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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Texas State Innovation Lab highlights student-led research at SXSW


Texas State computer science and physics senior Isaac Jaramillo, a developer on the SpeExoDisks team at Texas State, explains spectroscopy to Innovation Lab attendees, Sunday, March 13, 2023, at SXSW. SpeExoDisks is focused on collecting radiation data from stars to create a database of chemical elements on distant planets.

Texas State students will pitch their ideas for the 2023 Innovation Lab and Reception at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive to exchange the best ideas for technology and entrepreneurship.  

Since participants come from all over campus, students look for ways to integrate technology into their specialized fields of study.  

The Convention Center in Austin will host the SXSW Interactive conference on Friday, March 10, to Sunday, March 19. Students are to present their technology projects at a booth surrounded by alumni and SXSW Interactive badge holders.  

Maritza Martinez, the SXSW Innovation Lab project planner, has seen projects evolve year-by-year as the concepts get more refined by new senior classes. A solar car has made multiple appearances at the event, with new parts added every time. 

“The projects either stay with the school or they go with the students, it really depends,” Martinez said. “The 2019 competition’s winner who baked bread from leftover beer grains took that one with them. It’s a good opportunity, I’ve even seen corporate partners hand over a business card and say, ‘call me when you graduate.’” 

Isaac Jaramillo, a computer science and physics senior on the SpExoDisks team, has continued working on a project that was exhibited at SXSW in 2022. The team built a website and database that contains spectroscopy data from astronomers all over the world to allow people to share their findings. Spectroscopy follows the concept of a prism splitting a light wave into different colors.  

“There was a ton of programming and learning involved, and a ton of busy days working to meet deadlines,” Jarmillo said. “It’s important to me that the website works as we intended it to, it’s important that the information be free and easily accessible for all who want it.” 

Dale Blasingame, Digital Media Innovation faculty and associate professor in the mass communication program, has been going to SXSW for 12 years. Blasingame selects teams that will provide social media coverage from a pool of applicants in the graduate program or those who come with recommendations. 

“Really, I think it’s great that Texas State has a presence through the work that we do,” Blasingame said. “It provides a much-needed perspective of the problems facing the world, because South by Southwest truly is a global event. It’s nice to remind the community that Texas State, while still in San Marcos, is still part of Austin and they’re just as progressive.” 

Blasingame recommends that student students apply for media credentials or be part of the conversation at SXSW. He has witnessed three former team members become full-time employees; one in web development, one on the event team and another behind-the-scenes. 

The Texas State Innovation Lab at SXSW event is open to SXSW badge holders and guests who RSVP. For more information, visit https://www.ua.txst.edu/ways-to-give/corporate-partnerships/innovationlab.html 

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