Hands-On Learning for Laredo Teachers with TAMIU Professor
This summer, Texas A&M International University associate professor
of biology Thomas Vaughan will be teaching about the ecology of the Rio
Grande, but to a group of students slightly different than the usual undergraduate
and in locations a bit more exotic than the classroom. (photos)
Vaughan is a consultant with the University of Texas Health Center San
Antonio's South Texas Environmental Education and Research (STEER). This
program, started in 1996, exposes medical students, residents, nursing
and public health students to concepts in environmental and public health.
His students also include 17 Laredo teachers from Laredo and United
Independent School Districts who are earning master's-level credit from
TAMIU as part of a three-week course entitled "Teaching Environmental
Science" (TES), funded by the Texas Commission for Environmental
Vaughan explained the teachers and medical students can be found in
the hot summer sun, often knee-deep in the waters of the Rio Grande, studying
environmental issues regarding air, water and solid waste and other topics
with experts in the field.
He said the STEER program is valuable to all participants, providing
rare insight into the subject of environment and health.
"It addresses issues that normally receive little attention during
medical training. Health professionals rarely spend much time looking
at how environmental conditions affect health," explained Vaughan,
"This program gives the students a better understanding and appreciation
as to the importance of environment conditions and human health."
Vaughan has been with STEER since its inception, and explained this
is the second year TES has been offered at TAMIU.
"Our partnership with the STEER program, which is directed by Roger
Perales, was so successful last year we were pleased to be able to coordinate
our course with the STEER rotation again this summer. The course is being
offered at 22 universities this summer," said Vaughan.
For more information, please contact Vaughan at 326.2592 or e-mail email@example.com.
University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Information about the STEER program can also be found at
Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests
and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information
Services at firstname.lastname@example.org