Participants of the Engineering Learning Community Introduction to Research (ELCIR) program were invited to a welcoming reception on Saturday evening, hosted by the Department of Innovation, Research and Higher Education for the State of Yucatan (SIIES), a co-sponsor of the program in Yucatan. The reception took place at the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, a historical but modern Mayan Cultural museum.

The evening began with an introduction from Alicia Navarrete Alonso, the Coordinator of International Affairs for the Director of Higher Education-SIIES. She introduced the Project Investigators for the Yucatan Initiative, Dr. Medina-Cetina, Associate Professor of the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University (TAMU), and his Co-PI Mr. Ricardo Bello, Undersecretary of Higher Education for the State of Yucatan. Both introduced the Yucatan Initiative Project, and the president of the Universidad Politecnica de Yucatan (UPY), Dr. Gildardo Sánchez Ante and the president of Universidad Marista de Merida, Mr . Miguel Baquedano-Perez; both Universities hosted ELCIR’s program this year.

Also recognized on stage were numerous professors, researchers, and volunteers who helped with TAMU’s Foundations of Engineering Program that took place during the past spring break. This program hosted 44 students in Yucatan as they exposed students early on in their careers to research and global programs where they can work jointly with foreign students on solutions to regional problems. Each of the volunteers were awarded with a certificate and round of applause.

At the end of the night, the students took a picture with their host families from the Universidad Marista de Merida, who hosted all students of the program. Students and their host families had the opportunity to learn valuable lessons about their different cultural backgrounds.

After the reception there was time for the students and leadership involved, to socialize and have hors d’oeuvres and soft drinks, and take pictures having the architectural beauty of the museum as the backdrop. The students then headed home to get rest for a full Sunday of activities around Mérida with their host family’s, and to get ready for the start of the ELCIR program 2017.

*Visit our Flickr profile HERE to see more photos from the Welcome Reception.

Written by Anna Heller