Posted: 9/20/17

TAMIU Receives Two Federal Grants Totaling $1,101,950 Supporting Research, Engineering


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Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) has been named the recipient of two federal grants totaling over $1 million supporting research and engineering outreach and retention. 

The announcement of grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the US Dept. of Ed was made by Congressman Henry Cuellar (’82), who was crucial in helping the University secure the grants and lauded the University’s initiative. 

“Texas A&M International University is already one of the finest research institutions in the United States. I am confident that these awarded grants will help serve the purpose of contributing to and enhancing the growth and quality of TAMIU’s Science and Engineering programs,” said Congressman Cuellar, “I am also very pleased to hear about the new initiative to increase the number of minority students entering engineering and science programs. I thank President Dr. Pablo Arenaz for his assistance in securing these noteworthy endowments.” 

TAMIU president Dr. Pablo Arenaz said the grants help to advance the University’s research profile and recruitment of engineering and science students.

“We greatly appreciate Cong. Cuellar’s leadership in helping us to realize these grants.  Individually and combined, they will accelerate the University’s continued growth as a research-oriented institution, providing distinct, high-quality student experiences, and advance our initiatives to dramatically increase the number of minority students entering engineering and science majors at TAMIU,” Dr. Arenaz said. 

The first NSF grant, for $398,112, is made through NSF’s Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program and will acquire a new laser-scanning confocal microscope.   The confocal microscope is an essential tool for the study of cell and gene function in animals, microorganisms and plants, as well as in material sciences. Its use offers students and faculty researchers direct, hands-on research experiences that will be available to both TAMIU and Laredo Community College students across multiple disciplines.

The confocal microscope will be housed in the Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center and within the College of Arts and Sciences’ department of biology and chemistry and the School of Engineering.  The grant will be directed by TAMIU associate professor Dr. Sang-Chul Nam, principal investigator (PI).  Co-PIs for the project include TAMIU faculty members Dr. Ruby Ynalvez, Dr. Deepak Ganta and Dr. Sebastian Schmidl. 

The second U.S. Dept. of Ed Minority Science and Engineering Improvement (MSEIP) grant, totaling $703,838 over an anticipated three-year grant period, is focused on engineering majors, their recruitment, and retention.   It targets increasing engineering majors by 20% for each year of the program; achieving an 85% retention rate for project participants, and increasing the five-year graduation rate for engineering majors.  It will do so through cost-effective outreach and retention activities, student mentoring and faculty professional development.

The project director for the MSEIP grant will be TAMIU’s Dr. Tariq Tashtoush, assistant professor, School of Engineering.  Support team members include TAMIU faculty members Dr. Kameron Jorgensen, Dr. Ken Tobin, Dr. Guillermo Dominguez, Dr. Muhammed Hasan, Dr. Mohammed Khasawneh, Dr. Runchang Lin, and Ms. Sofi Maldonado. 

The NSF supports research, innovation, and discovery that provides a foundation for economic growth. It hopes that by advancing the frontiers of science and engineering, the United States can develop the knowledge and cutting-edge technologies needed to address the challenges of today and the future.

The MSEIP, part of the US Dept. of Ed, assists predominantly minority institutions in effecting long-range improvement in science and engineering education programs to increase the flow of under-represented ethnic minorities, especially minority women, into science and engineering careers.

For additional information on the federal grants to TAMIU, please contact the University’s Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 956.326.2180, email prmis@tamiu.edu, click on tamiu.edu or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268. 

University information is also available on its social media sites on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


Congressman Henry Cuellar congratulates TAMIU on the receipt of two federal grants totaling $1.1 million dollars.
Congressman Henry Cuellar congratulates TAMIU administration and faculty members on the receipt of two federal grants totaling $1.1 million dollars. Left to right, Dr. Kameron Jorgensen, Dr. Tariq Tashtoush, Dr. Mahmoud Khasawneh, Cong. Cuellar, Dr. Deepak Ganta, Dr. Sang Chul-Nam, Dr. Pablo Arenaz, Dr. Tom Mitchell, Dr. John Kilburn and Dr. Claudia San Miguel.