A&M International Recipient of $60,000 Chemistry Grant from Robert A. Welch Foundation

A Departmental Grant with a dual focus on increasing the number and quality of area chemistry students pursuing a career in chemistry and strengthening the chemistry academic program has been awarded to Texas A&M International University's College of Science and Technology by the prestigious Robert A. Welch Foundation of Houston.

Norbert Dittrich, Welch Foundation President, notified A&M International president Dr. Charles Jennett of the Foundation's grant award.

The 3-year grant, totalling $60,000, will support a multi-component student program known as the Chemistry Achievement Program (CAP.) The program will work to increase student participation in chemistry and consideration of chemistry careers through targeted discovery and recruitment strategies and support for freshman-senior level study. It will begin this summer.

The grant will also support chemical research by members of the A&M International chemistry faculty and students.

University president Dr. Charles Jennett said the Welch Foundation Grant is an important recognition of the University's chemistry program and bodes well for its growing number of chemistry majors.

"We believe this Grant recognizes the excellence of our program and helps us to build on that excellence to provide students greater access and support of their chemistry education and both faculty and students with important research opportunities," Dr. Jennett said.

Dr. Juan Homero Hinojosa, dean of the College of Science and Technology, noted that A&M International has offered a major in Chemistry since the Fall of 1997.

"We are the only institution within a 150-mile radius to offer a B.S. in Chemistry and it is also the most popular minor chosen by our pre-medical students. We believe the support the Welch Foundation Grant will provide to our CAP Program enhances meaningful learning and research opportunities which could encourage more students to major in chemistry and to consider important careers in chemistry," he added.

University faculty researchers, assisted by students, have focused on a variety of research areas, including remediation protocols for xenobiotics or toxic pollutants.

Other research has focused on the usefulness of photocatalytic and biochemical methods for partial or complete degradation of diazinon, an organophosphate insecticide that has been used since 1954 as a dust or spray in agriculture, on rangeland and wasteland, in industrial establishments, and in the home.

The Welch Foundation was established in 1952 with the estate of Robert A. Welch, who made his fortune in oil and minerals. From his associations with scientists, geologists and petroleum engineers, Welch determined that "the pursuit of chemistry and chemical research held great potential for the vast good and would continue to have a valuable impact on business, industry, global leadership and the human condition."

The Houston-based Welch Foundation supports fundamental chemical research at educational institutes within the State of Texas.

The Foundation awards competitive research and departmental grants and annually presents a chemical conference and the Welch Award in Chemistry to recognize important chemical research contributions that have a significant, positive influence on mankind.

For additional information on the Chemistry Achievement Program or the Welch Foundation Grant, please contact Dr. Hinojosa at 956.326.2440, email to jhhinojosa@tamiu.edu, or visit offices in Dr. F. M. Canseco Hall, room 301.
University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu