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Partnerships Foster Student Research    

July 13, 2023

Courtesy of Christian Padilla Ortiz
Courtesy of Christian Padilla Ortiz

By Taylor Bounds, Content Specialist

Since 2019, Texas A&M University at Galveston has collaborated with the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) on the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) program. Students participating in the most recent cohort conducted case study research on flood risk reduction in the Netherlands.

“Leveraging this partnership, we received the NSF IRES collaborative research grant, providing six weeks of international research experience for participating students each year,” said Dr. Yoonjeong Lee, Associate Research Scientist for IDRT and adjunct faculty member in the Department of Marine and Coastal Environmental Science at the Galveston campus. 

“The PIRE projects are expected to be driven by a bold vision for high-impact use-inspired basic research along with a strategy to leverage the PIRE opportunity to integrate diverse perspectives from different disciplines, international partners and stakeholder groups into the research,” according to the NSF. “It is expected that this effort will enhance societal benefits and increase potential to scale up and expand the partnerships beyond the PIRE funding period, catalyzing center-level activities in the future.” 

Christian Padilla Ortiz, a graduate student at UPRM studying environmental and water resources, found out about the program from his mentor, Dr. Walter Silva. “Working with students from other universities was a very enriching experience,” said Padilla Ortiz. “We were all from different backgrounds and specialties, which helped in expanding one’s horizons in terms of knowledge and perspectives.”

Students in a library in the Netherlands.

The trip to the Netherlands gave students time to meet with mentors, take field trips to key areas of the country and attend lectures by local experts, in addition to allowing time for independent research for each student’s projects and presentations.  

Padilla Ortiz said the program was “a great research and learning experience” and that he would suggest it to other students.  

“With the intention of expanding this partnership to the researcher and faculty level, we have applied for the NSF Global Center proposal, including UPRM as one of our partner institutions,” said Lee. “We are currently awaiting the results.


Media contact:
Taylor Bounds, Content Specialist

Texas A&M University at Galveston is the marine and maritime branch campus of Texas A&M University which educates nearly 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students in science, business, engineering, liberal arts and transportation. It is driving the development of the blue economy in the Gulf Coast Region and is a critical contributor to Texas A&M's rare land-, sea-, space-grant mission with nearly $10 million in research expenditures.

Texas A&M-Galveston is also home to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, one of six state maritime academies and the only one in the southern United States, which trains over 400 cadets annually for maritime service and employment around the world.

Texas A&M-Galveston is located in Galveston, Texas on the Gulf Coast where it is surrounded by industry, environment and programs essential to fulfilling its special-purpose mission. Aggies are known for their deep commitment to the success of each other and their strong desire to serve.