On September 2, 2019, ELCIR program students from Texas and Yucatan presented their research proposal posters at Texas A&M University (TAMU). This marks the first time that participants from Yucatan, specifically from Universidad Politécnica de Yucatán (UPY), Universidad Marista de Mérida and Instituto Tecnológico del Petróleo y la Energía (ITPE), have participated in the program in full.

The ELCIR program is an opportunity for Engineering students at TAMU to travel to Yucatan, Mexico, for two weeks during the summer. While there, they take part in an Introduction to Research class taught at local institutions, and visit some of the state’s research facilities, where they carry out lab work and take a hands-on approach to learning the scientific method.

After the study abroad portion of the program, the students continue to develop a research proposal based on a problem they identified during their stay in Yucatan, through an online learning community module over the summer. The final stage of the program is a poster session, where students present their research proposal at Texas A&M University.

Last May, 44 TAMU students traveled to Mérida, Mexico, and visited a total of 17 research facilities, in addition to cultural field trips to historical sites and natural attractions. Then, throughout the summer, they continued to work with 22 Mexican counterparts to develop a research proposal and corresponding poster. The students’ hard work was then put on display at the Zachry Engineering Education Complex for an enthusiastic audience that included not only TAMU students and faculty, but also the presidents of UPY, Dr. Gildardo Sánchez Ante and ITPE, Adrien Caudron; the Secretary of Research, Innovation and Higher Education of the State of Yucatan, Bernardo Cisneros Buenfil; and the Director of the Yucatan Initiative at TAMU, Dr. Zenon Medina-Cetina.

This has been the largest poster presentation in the history of the ELCIR program, which started in 2015 with a group of only 16 TAMU Engineering students, and has now grown to include the College of Geosciences. To date, 198 TAMU students have traveled to Yucatan as part of the ELCIR program.