Sixty six aggies participated in the Engineering Learning Community for Introduction to Research (ELCIR) Program in its fourth edition, the highest participation rate since the academic program was launched in 2015. Aligned to the vision of the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University to increase the number of aggies participating in study abroad programs, the leaders of ELCIR in both sides, Texas and Yucatán, have achieved a significant milestone towards this goal.

Yucatán, well known for its Maya heritage and its friendly people, has been the main location for hosting ELCIR since the program was created. This year ELCIR was held from May 11-27, 2018 and sponsored by Texas A&M University.ELCIR Students at Yucatan

A new university joined the roster of hosting institutions, the Technological Institute of Petroleum and Energy (ITPE).  The ITPE was founded in 2015 as a response to México’s grand challenge to create educational programs that could meet the energy sector demand for human capital. ITPE’s edge-cutting technological infrastructure and academic offer makes them an ideal partner for collaboration in the ELCIR program. Universidad Marista and the Universidad Politécnica de Yucatán (UPY Polytechnic University of Yucatán) have provided continuous support since 2015 for hosting the ELCIR community.

The main objective for participating ELCIR students is to immerse in the research process and engineer solutions to problems identified in the Yucatán region. The College of Engineering’s Office of Global Engineering Programs manages the course ENGR 291 – Introduction to Research, it builds on a comprehensive undergraduate curriculum to teach fundamental aspects of the research process (e.g. setting an objective, hypothesis, experimental design, etc.). Students spend half of the day in ENGR 291 and then the other half of the day is dedicated to ‘hands on’, experience on a lab member of the Yucatan Research Consortium (SIIDETEY) conducting research in strategic areas of common interest for the states of Yucatán and Texas, including Engineering: Energy, Coastal Dynamics, Logistics, Aquifers and Early Warning Systems; Agriculture and Life Sciences research: Animal Science, Genetics, Horticulture, Aquifers and Food Safety; and Geosciences: Water, Geology, and Ecosystems and Biodiversity.

A special group joined the ELCIR community half way through the program. It was 15 aggies that were participating in the Anthropology Ethics in Engineering Program, another academic program created as part of Yucatan Initiative Project (YIP). The Anthropology students were integrated to the last week of ENGR 291 course and research lab activities.

As the joint programs reached their end, 81 TAMU students had a last plunge into Yucatán’s archaeological treasures visiting Chichén Itzá, Ruta Puuc and Uxmal. Lodging at Uxmal, they had the opportunity to experience the Light and Sound Show, an amazingly worked show that illuminates the Uxmal pyramids while telling the story of those who once lived in them.

ELCIR TAMU Students at Chichen Itza

Upon their return to Aggieland, the students continue to work on their research proposals, meeting and talking with their faculty mentors (TAMU faculty members of the YIP) and participating in the ELCIR Online Learning Community. To compete the program, students presented their research proposal in a poster session on September 21, 2018 at College Station.

Take a look at the ELCIR 2018 Flickr photo gallery  ->