Five Texas A&M International University undergraduate students have returned to classes at the University after spending the summer studying biomolecular sciences through an Undergraduate Summer Research Apprentice Program funded by a $57,500 grant from the Department of Defense's Office of Naval Research (ONR).
A&M International students Melissa Magnon, Abril Pineda, and Jessica Sanchez participated in the program at College Station. They conducted research related to the ONR's interests in biologically inspired design of sensors, materials, and processes.
A&M International students Jo Emma Ortiz and Marissa Muñoz participated in the program in Laredo. They assisted with research in biodegradation of pesticides found in the Rio Grande and evaluation of the toxicity of sediments in the Rio Grande. The research in biodegradation of pesticides was headed by Dr. Mario Garcia-Rios, assistant professor of biology and chemistry at A&M International. The evaluation of the toxicity of Rio Grande sediments was headed by Dr. Sushma Krisnamurthy, assistant professor of biology at A&M International.
Dr. Garcia-Rios, who administered the ONR grant, said the Undergraduate Summer Research Apprentice Program enhances the research training of future scientists.
"This faculty-mentored, scientific-enhancement program is unique in that students receive directional leadership from faculty members who know the potential of these students for research," Dr. Garcia-Rios explained.
He noted that many of the students who participated in the program are considering research-related careers in the basic sciences and technologies.
"By giving them the opportunity to engage in the scientific process and to contribute technical support for research in research laboratories, they are more likely to pursue research-related careers," he added.
For more information on the Undergraduate Summer Research Apprentice Program at A&M International, please contact Dr. Garcia-Rios at 326-2585. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday.