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Global Engagement Grant


 

Introduction to Research Abroad Program (IRAP)
Engaging Freshman and Sophomore Students in Developing Solutions to Global Problems

Zenon Medina-Cetina, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Zachary Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental
College of Engineering
 
Maria Alves, Ph.D.
Senior Director for Halliburton Engineering Global Programs
College of Engineering
 
Sonia Garcia, Ph.D.
Senior Director for Access and Inclusion
College of Engineering
 
John Walewski, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Practice Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
College of Engineering
 
Brendan Roark, Ph.D.
Associate Professor & Director of Environmental Programs
College of Geosciences
 
Luis Ribera, Ph.D.
Professor & Extension Specialist
Agricultural Economics
 
Katy Lane
Director
Center for International Business Studies
Mays Business School
 
The College of Engineering’s Introduction to Research (ELCIR) course, targeted towards first year students and held abroad since 2015, prepares students to work and innovate in a multidisciplinary, multinational environment. Given the ELCIR’s transformative success, the objective of this Global Engagement Grant project – Introduction to Research Abroad Program – (IRAP) is to integrate students and faculty members from the colleges of Geosciences, Agriculture & Life Sciences, the Mays Business School and possibly the Education and Human Development into the ELCIR program to allow freshman and sophomore students to work in collaborative and multidisciplinary teams to address global problems.
 
IRAP is unique in that it will engage freshman and sophomore students from the very onset of their undergraduate careers in four rich experiences: 1) hands-on research class, allowing students to identify their own research problem with the support of faculty and researchers, 2) high impact global experience, 3) engagement with first-class researchers and research centers, and 4) requirement to develop and create a poster presentation on their research proposal results at the end of the course to peers, faculty, and administrators. As part of the IRAP program, students register and enroll in a one-credit research course during the Spring semester, travel to Mexico in May to become immersed in binational research projects in major research labs and write a research proposal at the end of the research course. In addition, another unique attribute of this program is the synergy with the Yucatan Initiative, a collaboration effort between researchers from the College of Engineering that has already engaged faculty members from the College of Agriculture, the College of Geosciences and the College of Education at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, and researchers from SIIDETEY, the Yucatan Research Consortium sponsored by the Yucatan government, which focuses on the development of solutions to global problems present in Texas and Yucatan.

 
FRAP: Flood Resilient Aggies Program
Samuel Brody, Ph.D., PI
Professor
Department of Marine and Coastal Environmental Science
Texas A&M University at Galveston
 
Co-PI: Jens Figlus, Ph.D., Yoonjeong Lee, Ph.D.
 
The Flood Resilient Aggies Program (FRAP) offers a month-long international experience of authentic and transformative learning coupled to immersive and multidisciplinary research activities. Students will engage in an immersive research experience, leading to an individual case study on flood resilience in the Netherlands. The requested funding will be used to develop a long-term education abroad program that takes an existing National Science Foundation (NSF) Partnership for International Research and Education (PIRE) program to the next level and establishes a steppingstone for a student exchange program between Texas A&M University (TAMU) and Delft University of Technology (TUD) to be offered through the Department of Marine and Coastal Environmental Science, starting in Summer I term of 2025.
 
FRAP will provide students with skills, and targeted knowledge to conduct research projects through a carefully designed problem- and place-based research education program. Selected students will participate in virtual lectures on relevant topics provided by a multidisciplinary team of TUD and TAMU faculty before each year’s research trip. The students will conduct individual case studies in the Netherlands building on their learning experience from the lectures and discussions with faculty mentors. On the research trip, immersive research discourse sessions guided by the binational faculty team and meetings with Dutch flood experts to ensure successful student research project outcomes. After completing the program, students will present their work at the annual “Disaster Resilient Student Research Symposium” held by Institute for a Disaster Resilient Texas (IDRT).

 
 
Developing a Global Collaborative Learning Environment for Architecture Product Innovation
and Sustainable Manufacturing

Jyhwen Wang, Ph.D.
Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution
College of Engineering
 
Ahmed K. Ali, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Architecture
College of Architecture
 
Dr. Torgeir Welo, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
 
Dr. Geir Ringen, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
 
The objective of the proposed project is to develop a global collaborative learning environment for students at Texas A&M University (TAMU) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Due to globalization, enterprises today face competition across the world. Education plays a key role in preparing the workforce to face this challenge. With influx of new technologies, teaching and learning of product design in a global collaborative setting represents a significant challenge and opportunity. The proposed project will develop vertical integrated Directed Study courses, over a 3-year period, for the College of Engineering and College of Architecture graduate and undergraduate students to form project teams to collaborate with NTNU student teams on product innovation. The experiential learning course will address issues related to the Circular Economy paradigm with a focus on design and manufacturing of architectural products and façade systems. The project will provide students a broader perspective in innovation with enhanced global awareness. Both quantitative and qualitative assessment and evaluation of student learning will be conducted to support the potential development of a regular course.

 

Additionally, identified through the Global Engagement Grant proposal review and meeting special criteria, a fourth proposal was identified for funding from the residual proceeds of the Institute for Pacific Asia.
Planning for Extreme Heat: Applying a Plan Integration for Resilience
Scorecard to Evaluate Urban Heat Vulnerability in Tokyo, Japan 

Siyu Yu, Ph.D., PI
Assistant Professor
Department of Landscape
College of Architecture - Urban Planning, Hazard Reduction & Recovery Center
 
Co-PI: Dongying Li, Ph.D., Co-PI: Sarah Gatson, Ph.D., Co-PI: Robert Brown, Ph.D.
 
Major Contact: Makoto Yokohari, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Natural Environment Studies, University of Tokyo
Steering Committee Chair and Supervisor
Graduate Program in Sustainability Science – Global Leadership Initiative
 
This project aims to engage Texas A&M University students in the study of an increasingly critical global climate topic: urban extreme heat. It will establish the importance of community resilience assessment in the context of a changing climate, and equip students with the theoretical background and technical skills required to tackle current and future challenges related to extreme heat. This program targets students enrolled in the College of Architecture, the College of Liberal Arts, and others across campus who are interested in pursuing the  Certificate in Environmental Hazard Management (EHM) offered by the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center (HRRC), the Certificate in Health Systems & Design (HSD) offered by the Center for Health Systems and Design (CHSD), or participating in the Aggie Research Program.
 
Students targeted to increase participation of underrepresented professionals in the fields of disaster and hazard research and practice, will have the opportunity to work closely with experts from Texas A&M University and the University of Tokyo, participate in a study abroad field study in Tokyo, and analyze urban heat risks and policies for building resilience and climate adaptation. The student research experience based in Tokyo, Japan, will include field observation, attendance at urban-heat-related conferences, and opportunities for cross-cultural collaboration with students at the University of Tokyo. Students will evaluate urban plans in Tokyo with respect to extreme heat and vulnerability, and then work to develop policy-based solutions.

Social Entrepreneurship Program - Brazos Valley & Global Artisans
William A. Brown, Ph.D, PI
Professor
Bush School of Government and Public Service
 
John T. Manhire, Ph.D, PI
Assistant Dean and Chief of Staff
School of Innovation
 
Andrew P. Morriss, Ph.D, PI
Professor, Bush School of Government and Public Service
Dean, School of Innovation
Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
 
Robert Shandley, Ph.D, PI
Professor, College of Liberal Arts
Associate Dean, School of Innovation

Program Summary
The Social Entrepreneurship Program creates student learning experiences by connecting the 2nd largest pathway from poverty to prosperity in the world, the artisan sector, with student ingenuity and innovation. There are two phases to this program. The first is essentially a marketing/sales/ promotion educational opportunity for international artisans to be hosted in Texas, educate our local citizenry on their goods and business models, and establish direct sales with supporters/purchasers. The second phase involves curated teams of students and faculty from multiple disciplines across Texas A&M to establish a relationship with each entrepreneur through the artisan’s time in Texas, and ultimately facilitate multiple group field trips for students to the artisan’s home community around the world to survey the most pressing social needs of the community and develop practical solutions for these problems. The intent will be to develop long term, multi-experiential opportunities for students, artisans and faculty to connect real world learning with social entrepreneurship in practice. This second phase is a global community engagement complement to the I-School’s established Innovation [X] program. The program will eventually establish an annual artisans fair with community support, bringing dozens of accomplished artists and artisans to campus.  A percentage of the proceeds of their sales will then, in turn, be used to address needs in their native communities. This is both an opportunity for artisan entrepreneurs to market their products internationally, and for students and faculty to engage in real-world, multidisciplinary projects with significant social impact.
 

FORWARD: Toward Resilient and Food Secure Communities in the Face of Global Threats – Lebanon and Qatar
Valentini Pappa, PhD, Lead PI
Assistant Director of Education
Texas A&M Energy Institute
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Rabi H. Mohtar, PhD, PI
Dean, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences
American University of Beirut

Michelle Meyer, PhD, PI
Director and Assistant Professor
Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning
 
Co-PI:  Ahmed Abdel-WahabMirella AounBassel DaherGhada Salma
 
Summary
FORWARD offers a one-month transformative international experience in which Texas A&M students will acquire the knowledge and tools to impact and improve the resilience and food security of communities under different natural hazards scenarios. The Student Research Experience will occur in either Lebanon (AREC at AUB) or Qatar (TAMUQ). These two locations, which have functioning MOUs affirming their institutional commitment to working together will also support the attendance at WEF and Food Security conferences in the Middle East. The program also includes the opportunity to attend never-before-offered courses at Texas A&M and taught by AUB and TAMUQ faculty members. Students will participate in a “Special Topics Seminar Series” offered by speakers from across the world. Top performing students will receive financial support to attend a special food security conference; all students will present their brief communication paper at the new “Disaster PRIMR Conference”, taking place at Texas A&M, USA. The requested funding for FORWARD will establish a program that will become self-sustaining and self-funded through the continuing recruitment support of the Institute of International Awareness. FORWARD is open to students currently earning a Master of Science in Energy or following the Certificate in Energy, or Certificate in Environmental Hazard Management, or the successful completion of any graduate degree program at Texas A&M.  The Texas A&M Energy Institute will do the recruitment in cooperation with the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, the Institute of International Awareness, and the College of Architecture. 

Educator Network Grant for Aggies in a Global Environment – South Africa
(E.N.G.A.G.E. – SA)

Cassidy Caldwell, PI
Graduate Student, Multicultural Education
Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture (TLAC)

Garth V. Crosby, Dip. Ed. Ph.D, PI
Associate Professor & Program Coordinator
AggieTEACH-Engineering, Multidisciplinary Engineering Technology
Department of Engineering Technology & Industrial Distribution

Rebecca Hankins Ph.D, PI
Certified Archivist, Librarian/Curator                                    
Affiliated Faculty: Interdisciplinary Critical Studies             
Presidential Appointee: National Historical Publications & Records Commission, Nat’l Archives

Valerie Hill-Jackson, Ph.D, PI
Assistant Dean, Educator Preparation and School Partnerships
Clinical Professor, Teacher Education
Office of the Dean

Laura Wilding, PI
AggieTEACH-Science, Program Coordinator
Dean's Office, College of Science

Melanie Moser Ph.D, PI
Chair of Foundational Sciences |Advisor
AggieTEACH-Galveston

Jemimah L. Young, Ph.D, PI
Multicultural Education Program Coordinator
Associate Professor, Multicultural Education and Urban Education
Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture (TLAC)
 
Summary
The Educator Network Grant for Aggies in a Global Environment, South Africa (E.N.G.A.G.E. – SA), an innovative experiential initiative, utilizes the best aspects of the College of Education and Human Development’s (CEHD) clinical teaching practices and elevates the experiences for prospective science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educators.  The aim of this project is to develop an innovative STEM ‘tutor/teach abroad’ program for AggieTEACH students in partnership with the University of Cape Town (UCT) – a world-class institution. The CEHD, Africana Studies program in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), AggieTEACH programs affiliated with the Department of Marine Biology at TAMU Galveston, College of Science, and College of Engineering, as well as the Schools Improvement Initiative (SII)2 at the UCT, South Africa. All entities are collaborating to offer future AggieTEACH students from STEM-related colleges and South African teachers a transformative field experience. Through coursework and early field teaching experiences, prospective secondary STEM teachers will become familiar with theories and issues related to diversity, globalism, culture, intercultural sensitivity and communication. These cultural competency skills for educators impact the teaching and learning process (Bottiani, Larson, Debnam, Bischoff, & Bradshaw, 2018; McAllister, & Irvine, 2000) are often overlooked in the STEM fields (Joy, Aryana, & Leonard, 2019; Santiago, 2017). During their international practicum experience, prospective AggieTEACH educators will apply these theories while tutoring a group of diverse learners in South African classrooms and reflect on their efforts.


The Growing Importance of Global Health Security - Rio Grande Valley & Nicauragua
Christine Crudo Blackburn, Ph.D, PI
Deputy Director, Pandemic and Biosecurity Program
Assistant Research Scientist
Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs, The Bush School of Government & Public Service
 
Rebecca Fischer, Ph.D, PI
Assistant Professor
Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
School of Public Health
 
Leslie Ruyle, Ph.D, PI
Associate Director, Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs
Associate Research Scientist
The Bush School of Government and Public Service
Adjunct Faculty, Department of Ecology and Conservation Biology
 
Summary 
The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has demonstrated the way in which infectious diseases move fluidly across borders. An emerging infectious disease can easily spread across the globe in a matter of weeks. Our modern-day interconnectedness makes the interface between science and policy increasingly important and requires innovative strategies to protect human health. Well-designed, scientifically-based policy can make an important difference in our ability to identify and contain infectious diseases. For this reason, understanding the intersection of science and policy, as well as the borderless movement of infectious disease, is vital to global health security.  This project aims to introduce students to the growing importance of global health security by increasing their knowledge about the epidemiology of vector-borne diseases impacts through personal engagement with public health leaders and research from local (Texas-Rio Grande Valley) and international (Mexico and Nicaragua) importance.  Students will gain an understanding of the interaction between humans, animals, and the environment—Global One Health—and learn about how policy and science intersect.  To meet these goals, students will study one of the most widespread vector-borne diseases in the world – Dengue fever.  Students will learn about disease epidemiology, vector ecology, and vector-control policies, as well as an appreciation for challenges to controlling spread of infectious diseases across international borders through social science fieldwork. They will also identify and articulate differences in these factors between individuals in endemic countries and the United States of America. 

A5: The Augmented Atlas for Architecture and Landscape Architecture Abroad 1
Dongying Li, Ph.D., PI
Assistant Professor
Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning
College of Architecture

Co-PI: Galen Newman, Ph.D.Amir Behzadan, Ph.D.Shinjiro Sueda, Ph.D., Ture Petersenn, M.A.

The aim of this project is to develop and evaluate an innovative method of architectural study abroad via “human-digital-context-time” interaction (HDCTI). This platform, referred to as the Augmented Atlas for Architecture and Landscape Architecture Abroad (A5), will transform the traditional passive field study experiences using virtual reality (VR) and location-based augmented reality (AR) technologies. The project facilitates information acquisition and the horizontal sharing of information among both affluent students (who can afford to participate in trips abroad) and financially disadvantaged students (who may not be able to afford such international trips); the information will also be shared and acquired vertically among students and study abroad instructors across multiple years. We will use the established Bonn, Germany Study Abroad program as the test bed. A digital spatial model of Bonn will be created using a hierarchy of high, medium and low attribute resolution areas. Based on the structure, we will develop a 3- dimensional VR experience for immersive architectural visits, and a mobile augmented reality (AR) system for on-site interactivity and content embedment during students’ study abroad experiences. Our project is a collaborative effort across several programs from two Colleges, benefiting around 20 students from College of Architecture who participate in the Bonn program, more than 1000 students who take architecture and landscape architecture history classes each year, as well as 20 students from College of Engineering who are involved in the platform development. Beyond the Bonn program itself which concentrates on design-related disciplines, the A5 platform could be applied in a wide variety study aboard programs within the College, such as the UK program offered in the Department of Construction Science, as well as field studies in a variety of other disciplines across campus. This project also presents an innovative approach toward equity in education by enriching the immersive learning opportunities provided for disadvantaged students.
 

Global Engagement Grant--Germany Biosciences Semester Program
Virginia Fajt DVM, PhD, PI
Clinical Professor
Department of Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Co-PI:  Saurabh Biswas, PhDJeremy Wasser, PhD

The Germany Biosciences Semester Program is an already existing, highly successful, study abroad program with a strong interdisciplinary element with close collaboration between the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the Dwight Look College of Engineering. Our program provides an immersive academic and cultural experience for students designed to be transformative, both professionally and personally. A critical element of the program is the semester- long design project carried out in collaboration with our German partner, the biotechnology firm, enmodes, GmbH. Students work on a real-world biomedical design project in an international milieu with implications for real patients. We propose to build on the success of this program by:
(1) engaging additional TAMU faculty from both of the participating Colleges by bringing them to Germany for site visits with our students and industry partners
(2) engaging additional European academic, clinical and industry professionals to present guest lectures and hold workshops throughout the semester abroad
(3) expanding intercultural awareness and communications training for our students
(4) continuing to provide and to build on opportunities for graduate students to participate in the program as instructors
(5) introducing the students to a nationally adopted training platform -- I-CorpsTM (Innovation Corps) started by National Science Foundation and developing our program further as an "incubator" for preparing students for international internships with European companies, governmental and non-governmental agencies by establishing further relationships with
these entities and facilitating students entry into the international scientific and
technological arenas
(6) establishing and formalizing a "pipeline" program for undergraduate and recent graduates to intern with enmodes GmbH.
 

Revolutionizing Science & Engineering Education in Food Engineering - A TAMU-UPV Collaboration
Rosana G. Moreira PhD, PI
Professor, Food Engineering
Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
 
M. Elena Castell-Perez, PhD, PI
Professor of Food Engineering
Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering Department
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
 
Maria Barrufet, PhD, PI
Professor of Petroleum Engineering
Department of Petroleum Engineering
College of Engineering
 
The proposed global engagement initiative is designed to provide 21st century education to students in Engineering, Food Science, and Agricultural Business Management fields. The Mission is to provide valuable experiences to TAMU students focusing in part on the future domains of Food Science and Engineering education. Through culture awareness and creativity, our students will improve technical and soft skills essential to compete in a globally integrated society. The students will learn the most recent advances in food engineering and technology in the area of enginomics, innovations in food engineering, cultural awareness, and social responsibility. Students will understand how food science and engineering impacts new knowledge and tools to excel in a highly-competitive global economy and changing markets and consumer needs. TAMU students will interact with Spanish undergraduate peers as part of multidimensional teams. This experience will prepare the students to succeed in international careers.
 
 
McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship Global Entrepreneurship Initiative (GEI)
Donald Lewis, MBA, PI
Executive Professor
Department of Management Director
McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship
Mays Business School

Patricia Thornton, PhD, PI
Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Liberal Arts
 
Janet Parish, PhD, PI
Clinical Professor; Associate Department Head; Director of Professional Selling Initiative
Department of Marketing
Mays Business School

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship’s Global Entrepreneurship Initiative (GEI) seeks to provide students with high impact entrepreneurial experiences in multiple locations, including programs in Belgium, Chile, and Cuba, and potentially expanding to Ireland, Eastern Europe, and Central America. The Initiative goes beyond traditional study abroad by simulating international business scenarios by teaching students using innovative results-oriented pedagogy developed by Texas A&M professors and staff that aims to transform students into global entrepreneurial thinkers. For student participants, the 1-year, 3-credit, faculty-led study abroad program consists of three phases that focus on providing a unique experience working with foreign entrepreneurs.

The first phase takes place at Texas A&M University and begins with research and goal-setting, including pre-departure meetings and courses with faculty covering topics including entrepreneurship, socio-cultural factors within business, problem recognition, and personal reflection. During phase one, students will build relationships with pre-selected startups by contacting agents of the businesses and reading about their company. The second phase involves travel to the respective country for a cross- cultural immersion experience. Students connect with startups abroad with the goal to assess and advise these startups and businesses. Groups will critically evaluate these startups with instructor guidance and offer specific recommendations based on a set of problem statements. The third phase takes place at the end of the program, where students provide feedback to improve the program’s quality and help its perpetuation.

On completion of all three phases, interested students will apply for another year of the program to assist with recruiting new students and serve as mentors, leaders and teaching assistants. Students’ performance in the first year of the program and demonstrated leadership potential determines their selection for the second year of the program.

While initially the students will do exercises evaluating the startups and businesses, the long- term vision for the program is to expand in two ways: Working with foreign startups and businesses to import products for sale in a student-run retail lab on the Texas A&M campus and adding a language component with the College of Liberal Arts. Through the import process, students identify products that have market demand in the U.S., and then conduct a business deal with them by purchasing products to import to the United States for sale at a student retail lab. Currently no program at Texas A&M University allows students to have hands-on experience conducting international business and importing products for sale. Incorporating students in various language courses as live translators throughout this exchange will offer another dimension to the GEI. The GEI aims to work closely with the College of Liberal Arts to offer an additional learning experience for their language studies students to apply their studies to a real-world scenario.

Building a Joint Academic Program with Ocean University of China through a Semester-Long Environmental Resilience Curriculum
E. Brendan Roark, P.I.
Associate Professor, Department of Geography
Director, Environmental Programs in Geosciences
College of Geosciences

Co-PI:  Frederick 0. BoaduJack G. BaldaufKim E. DooleyChristian Brannstrom
 
This project is an immersive semester-long environmental-focused study abroad program at Ocean University of China targeting several hundred TAMU undergraduates (ENST-GE; ENGS; ENST-AG; BESC). The program focuses on increasing global awareness and competencies of TAMU undergraduates by pairing TAMU and Chinese students in classes about environmental resilience taught by TAMU faculty. This kind of interaction goes beyond a traditional study abroad and includes significant cultural immersion components. The program includes a rigorous assessment plan aiming to improve program quality and establish foundation for future sustainability. Our innovative program fills a major open niche in TAMU study abroad programs—demand for a semester-long China program led by TAMU faculty members—in collaboration across several undergraduate programs in two Colleges. In addition the program complements prior research collaborations and builds upon substantial efforts between TAMU faculty and administrators to build stronger academic and research ties with Chinese colleagues.
 
MARA-LIST School of Law Maritime Global Engagement Initiative – Switzerland/Malta
Joan Mileski, P.I.
Department Head & Professor
Department of Maritime Administration & Marine Science Texas A&M University at Galveston
Bush School of Government and Public Service (Online)
 
Co-PI:  Charlotte KuJoAnn DiGeorgio-LutzCassia Bömer Galvão

This project focuses in developing an immersion into the United Nations (UN) activities related to the maritime transportation activities. The Maritime industry is a highly regulated sector and its main characteristic is to be international by nature. The UN and their specialized agencies (like IMO) are responsible for designing and implementing several of the regulations that are in place in the maritime sector. UN related organizations (like UNCTAD and the WTO) also deal with several aspects of the regulation, arbitration and development of world trade. This immersion is structured in three steps. First, the students will take a two-week course on campus for familiarization with the UN’s organization, concepts, challenges and trends; second, the students will be taken on a field trip to three different strategic locations of UN offices. The first stop will be at UN Headquarters in New York; the second will be at UNCTAD office at Geneva; and the third stop will be at Malta where the IMLI (International Maritime Law Institute) is located. Finally, we will return to campus to summarize and assess the trip’s learning outcomes. We anticipate that this project’s major impact will be in the students’ global awareness about the international maritime affairs related to trade, public policy, and law. Students attending this initiative will be offered a multidisciplinary perspective of the international maritime reality given by Professors that are experts in International Policy, Law and Business and by experiencing a field trip to strategic decision centers in the UN structure.

The Costa Rican Core Semester:  A sustainable, high-impact learning experience at the Soltis Center for Research and Education
Donald J. Brightsmith, PI
Associate Professor
Department of Veterinary Pathobiology
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
 
Co-PI:  Eugenio Gonzalez, Jane Flaherty, Jennifer WhitfieldCraig CoatesHojun SongMariana Mateos, Cory Arcak, Ronald Vargas
 
The Costa Rica Core Semester Program will provide undergraduate students with high impact learning opportunities while efficiently completing TAMU core curriculum requirements. Students will explore an innovative combination of natural and social environments of Costa Rica through lectures, laboratories, field trips, homestays, and a service-learning project. Courses on ecology, entomology, history and mathematics will be woven together to provide students with the skills to analyze and report upon the natural diversity of the tropics and beyond. The course “History of the World Since 1500” will help students develop a deep cultural awareness that will guide them in understanding the place of Latin America within the past and current world. The program will be based at the Texas A&M University Soltis Center for Research and Education and builds on the program development expertise of the program director and the faculty’s decades of combined expertise in the region. During this 16 credit hour program, students will advance their degrees with 13 University Core Curriculum credits, an International Culture and Diversity course, a Cultural Discourse credit course, and a Writing Intensive course. All students will also study Spanish to help them integrate into both the Texas and international community while broadening their cultural awareness. This program will provide a unique transformative experience for TAMU students that will contribute to both their academic course and their life-long goals.
 
Mexican Reintegration Project
Huyen Pham, P.I.
Professor of Law
Texas A&M University School of Law
 
Co-PI:  Luz E. HerreraSoniah HernandezAngela D. MorrisonNancy Plankey-Videla
 
The phenomenon of deportees returning to Mexico is significant for humanitarian, legal, economic, and social reasons. In 2017, the number of interior removals from the United States increased by 30% from 2016. Media reports of individuals detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in front of schools, homes, and job sites have become commonplace in Texas.
 
This project’s objective is to help TAMU students better understand the complexity of the deportation phenomenon through experiential learning, research inquiries, and service projects. We want our students to see firsthand the difficulties that deportees face, by visiting reintegration centers in Mexico, interviewing deportees, and doing internships with the centers that are assisting deportees. Our activities will address the following research questions:
  • What challenges do Mexican deportees face?
  • As they try to re-integrate, how do deportees fare economically, socially, and psychologically?
  • What is the impact of deportation on family members left in the U.S.?
We plan to share our research by convening services providers and attorneys who work with Mexican deportees (and those at risk of being deported) at Hacienda Santa Clara at the end of our three year study. Engaging students in this work that has binational impact is critical to training global leaders. Also, in keeping with core Aggie values, our students will work on service projects, include compiling legal information to help deportees wrap up their financial and other affairs in the U.S. and sharing this information through community presentations, both in the U.S. and Mexico.