Matching Gift Helps TAMIU PhD Students ‘Give Back’

LNB-BBVA $15,000 Matching Gift
Helps TAMIU Ph.D. Students ‘Give Back’

A special matching grant from Laredo National Bank-BBVA Group will enable Texas A&M International University Ph.D. students an innovative opportunity to ‘give back’ to their service community, Laredo.

“We’re truly excited about this matching grant of $15,000 from the LNB-BBVA Group, which, paired with an existing grant from the US Department of Education, provides us with an opportunity for our student research fellows and select faculty to assist local businesses,” said Dr. Tagi Sagafi-nejad, College of Business Administration Distinguished professor and director of the Ph.D. program in International Business. (photo)

He explained that part of the grant encourages collaborative research projects that provide learning and growth opportunities for all involved parties. The original grant was secured with the assistance of US Congressman Henry Cuellar, Dr Sagafi-nejad noted.

Sagafi-nejad said the LNB-BBVA match funds an especially interesting proprietary research initiative that has been dubbed “The Assimilation Project.”

“In particular, this will enable three faculty members and four Ph.D. students to perform public research for a project that focuses on the banking needs and preferences of new immigrant communities in this area and elsewhere in the United States. These new immigrants assimilate into their new communities in a number of ways and their developing banking preferences are no exception. Noting that, we’re calling this ‘The Assimilation Project.’ As these immigrants assimilate into their new home, their financial and banking needs change. This provides an opportunity for our banks to develop strategies to meet these changing needs,” Sagafi-nejad explained.        

“This will involve surveys and community-based research and affords our Ph.D. students, representing over seven countries (US, México, China, India, France, Turkey, and Thailand) and our College faculty a remarkable way to apply their research acumen locally to work on a project that has real-world ramifications for an important and growing marketplace,” he continued.

The TAMIU Ph.D. students who will take part in the project are: Vanessa Garza, Paul Komiak, Jullavut (Jay) Kittisksarasakun, and Nazim Taskin.

The TAMIU faculty project members are: Dr. Andrés Rivas, Dr. Leonel Prieto and Dr. Balaji Janamanchi.

Manuel Sánchez, president of the LNB-BBVA Group, said the matching gift provides BBVA with an opportunity that has mutual benefit.

“We’re excited about the chance to provide these students and faculty with an important research opportunity and to have some of the brightest minds in our area contributing to a well-researched project that should prove of great relevance to our services here,” said Sánchez

Last April, The BBVA Group presented TAMIU’s College of Business Administration with an historic  $1 million gift for an Endowed Professorship in International Finance for the College of Business Administration.

The BBVA Group is a large, multinational financial services group, with a leading position in the Spanish market and a strong franchise in Latin America.

For additional information on the Assimilation Project, contact Dr. Sagafi-nejad at 326.2514, visit offices in the Western Hemispheric Trade Center, room 219, or e-mail tagi.sagafi@tamiu.edu


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