Texas A&M University-Texarkana has been awarded a grant in the amount of $25,000 as part of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund. The award was announced during the Partners of the Americas’ 50th Anniversary Convention, recently held in Florianopolis, Brazil. The grant is funded by the ExxonMobil Foundation and it will focus on promoting study abroad in engineering, physics, geology and geophysics. There were 39 high quality proposals submitted and eight were selected for funding.
A&M-Texarkana has established a partnership with The Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga, located in Bucaramanga, Columbia. A&M-Texarkana’s Environmental Science Program (USA) and Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga’s Energy Engineering Program (Colombia) will develop service learning and research-based projects to increase student mobility between South America and the United States in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). College students from both institutions will (after taking a specified STEM distance course taught using an inter-university team-teaching component) participate in an exchange program to the other institution and help develop community-based environmental/energy experiential stations/pavilions that will function as outdoor classrooms, serving local schools and the public. The educational component (college students will be teaching K-12 students), student collaborative research, service-learning linked to community prosperity, and study abroad component, make it a strong project for enhancing student participation in study abroad. The initial project identifies a clean, replicable, and efficient way to enhance study abroad in the areas proposed by this innovation fund. This grant will serve as a foundation to develop similar programs beyond the grant period and across other partner institutions.
A&M-Texarkana Assistant Professor of Environmental Science, Dr. Kati Stoddard will be working with the project and she is looking forward to the partnership. “This grant will provide A&M-Texarkana the opportunity to have a significant impact on the environmental education of Texas A&M University-Texarkana students, students at our partner university in Columbia, and individuals in the communities surrounding both institutions,” said Dr. Stoddard. “I’m a firm believer that environmental education at all levels (K-12, college, and community/adult) is essential for producing meaningful environmental change and policy. Individual citizens, making consistent environmentally conscious choices, can have a powerful cumulative effect on how our societies respond to environmental issues.”