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TAMU-CC chosen to participate in $12.7 million Gulf Scholars Program

Program leaders saw this as an opportunity to expose undergraduates to research that will make an impact in the Gulf of Mexico.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas A&M University Corpus Christi is one of five institutions chosen to take part in a $12.7 million program that will prepare undergrads to address environmental issues in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Gulf Scholars Program addresses health, energy and infrastructure challenges in The Gulf.

3NEWS spoke with Mark Besonen, the Harte Research Institute's Director for International Programs for Gulf of Mexico Studies. He said, "We're trying to help develop these future leaders that will be able to help solve some of these critical issues when they come up."

Besonen feels this program is a perfect fit for this campus. "When we read the description, it really closely mirrored the university's vision and mission statement and what we're doing at the Harte Research Institute at the graduate level," he explained.

Program leaders saw this as an opportunity to expose undergraduates to research that will make an impact in the Gulf of Mexico.

The associate vice president of research at the university, Janet Donaldson told 3NEWS, "Most universities don't provide this type of experience for their students especially in such an environment such as this like we have here at Texas A&M Corpus Christi."

The application process for students interested will begin spring this year. "It's instrumental for our university to grow as a multidisciplinary program and build our Gulf of Mexico studies," Donaldson added.

Besonen said, "We've conceived it around a certificate program where we have three classes, 3 one-semester classes, and then a special Gulf impact project where the students actually take on a project out in the community."

The Harte Research Institute wants as much diversity to make up the team that will catapult this research program. "We can have the best scientific solution to something, but if we don't take into account the demographics, the cultural, the historical, the economic situation of locality, then that scientific solution, may not work very well," Besonen explained.

Classes for the program will begin this fall. Because this is a two-year program, for this first year, the program will begin with five students, the following year, another five students will be added. 

They're looking for students who live in Corpus Christi and come from a vast range of academic disciplines.

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