The State University of Queretaro in Mexico, a partner institution with West Virginia University, was one of 10 Latin American universities recently recognized with capacity building grants as part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s 100K Strong in the Americas initiative. The goal of the initiative is to reach 100,000 student exchanges each year between the United States and the countries of the Americas.

According to Victor Mucino, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at WVU, the $25,000 award will help to establish a formal assessment and evaluation of Queretaro’s partnership with WVU under its Industrial Outreach Program with the objective of establishing a roadmap for expansion to other disciplines and replication in other venues. Mucino and his colleagues at the University of Queretaro will host a workshop on best practices for international programs between the two countries in Mexico the week of July 21-25.

“We were approached by a representative of the Office of the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath, who learned about our program and that led to the opportunity to submit a proposal for the second round of grants as part of the 100K Strong Initiative,” said Mucino. WVU is now working to submit a proposal for round three funding with a goal toward doubling the number of students in the exchange program by involving other universities in the United States.

In 1997, WVU teamed up with the Council for Science and Technology of Queretaro to offer a study-abroad opportunity in Mexico for students in mechanical, aerospace, industrial and civil engineering. Students from the United States partner with their Mexican counterparts and are assigned industrial projects with regional industry partners, many of which are subsidiaries of American-based companies. The teams work across cultural and language barriers to deliver results. In 2012, a reciprocal agreement between the two organizations was signed, which brings Mexican students to WVU during the spring semester.

“The reciprocal visits provide an opportunity for WVU students to become acquainted with Mexican team members who will join them in the industrial projects during the subsequent summer,” said Mucino. “The network of industries, institutions and research centers in Queretaro, in addition to the rich cultural opportunities of the city and state, provide WVU students a unique opportunity to enhance the competitiveness of their education and their job market potential.”



CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon, College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.