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Krystel K.


GreenStar Endowed Associate Professor in Energy

and Director, Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute

University of Texas at San Antonio

Ph.D., Industrial Engineering, Texas Tech University;
Sc.D., Engineering Sciences, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico);
M.S., Quality and Productivity Systems, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey;
B.S., Industrial and Systems Engineering, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey

When Dr. Krystel K. Castillo was a young girl studying in Mexico, her class was visited by a dean from Monterrey Tech in Monterrey, Mexico.  Not just a dean of engineering, but a female dean of engineering.

That visit opened Dr. Castillo’s eyes to a vision of her future. Meeting a trailblazer who was a woman in a science, math and technology-heavy field inspired young Krystel to become one, too.  She found her way to Monterrey Tech where she would ultimately earn three of her four degrees and set-off on a what’s been a remarkable career in higher education.   

Dr. Castillo punctuated her education with a second doctorate in industrial engineering from Texas Tech University. Today she is a highly respected educator, visionary leader, exemplary engineer at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  Her research has focused on big data analytics and mathematical programming and optimization techniques for analyzing large-scale, complex systems under uncertainty. Her work holds tremendous promise in applications such as modeling and optimization of renewable energy systems, defense manufacturing, and logistics.  

Dr. Castillo has received more than $4.92 million in grant funding from multiple agencies including U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Science Foundation, to name just a few. 

Her outstanding research contributions to the fields of logistics network design, optimization of energy systems and defense manufacturing include her transformative research and development of new mathematical models that take an integrated view of design, inventory, production, and transportation problem.  These models help quantify uncertainty and quality issues in raw material and the development of efficient algorithms.  Her work has been applied to everything from manufacturing to energy to sustainability, and it’s helped to fill a significant gap in the body of knowledge regarding the modeling, design and optimization of cost-effective supply chain networks integrating economic and quality aspects. 

Her new models and methods have helped establish a fundamental understanding of the mathematical relationships between the costs due to poor quality and the logistics costs for a whole supply chain system.

Dr. Castillo’s commitment to her students is just as extraordinary as her research accomplishments.  She’s made it a priority to mentor several minority students, and she’s facilitated summer internships at national laboratories for more than 47 engineering majors, as well as 30 Alamo community college students.  She and her team are also developing new courses and technical workshops to build the theoretical foundation in clean energy and water systems, and provide training and outreach necessary to nurture next-generation green scientist and engineers.

Dr. Castillo’s has garnered multiple awards for her research, including a President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Research Achievement, the 2017 Outstanding Young Faculty award from the American Society of Engineering Education – Gulf South West Region, the 2017 INFORMS MIF Early Career Award, and the UTSA College of Engineering Faculty Award for Excellence in Research. In summer 2015, she received the GreenStar Endowed Professorship in Energy for her accomplishments in clean energy research. She is also the author of 24 high quality peer-reviewed scientific journals, 1 book, 5 book chapters, and 25 peer reviewed conference papers.