TAMIU SIFE Students Earn Impressive Honors

TAMIU SIFE Students Earn Impressive Honors at First Regional Competition

Texas A&M International University's Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team earned "Rookie of the Year" and Regional Champion honors at the SIFE USA Regional Competition in Dallas last week. (photo)

The group is only in its first year of organization, but defeated long-established teams from the University of Texas at Austin and Prairie View A&M University, among others. It will share its Regional title with the University of Texas-Pan American and advances to the national level of SIFE competition, the SIFE USA National Exposition, May 22-24 in Kansas City, Missouri.

TAMIU SIFE Team members include Triana Cisneros, president; Gabriela Ayala, vice president; Celina Arambula, secretary; Rosario Ibanez, treasurer; Grace Gabala, project coordinator; Jose Baez, public relations officer; and Juan de Dios Nieto, project coordinator.

The Team's academic advisor, Dr. J. Michael Patrick, said the competition was impressive and TAMIU was well-represented.

"These students did an outstanding job in competing against programs that are repeat champion and that have been participating in these competitions for over 20 years. In addition, most teams included as many as 25 members, while TAMIU's team included only 7 members. They did an incredible job and we are extremely proud of them," Dr. Patrick said.

Team members are planning a special presentation of their winning program for the community at large for April 27 at the University. They will also be looking for external sponsors to help raise funds to travel to the Kansas City competition.

During the academic year, TAMIU's SIFE Team completed five projects and organized five more for completion this summer in the Laredo community.

In preparation for regional competition, the TAMIU SIFE Team received valuable guidance and advice from members of its Business Advisory Board including James Arthur, home mortgage consultant, Wells Fargo; Neil Garcia, manager, Foley's; Carlos Guzman, vice president, The Laredo National Bank; Clema Owen, sales and marketing, Holiday Inn; Andres Rivas, TAMIU assistant professor of Economics; Virginia Vincent, former sales manager, EXEL Logistics; currently project manager, Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade, TAMIU/COBA, and Richard Perez, former manager of Sears, currently project manager, TAMIU's Texas Center for Border Economics and Enterprise Development. The team coordinator is Jesse Gonzalez, project manager for the Texas Center.

SIFE had modest beginnings in Texas where the National Leadership Institute's Robert T. "Sonny" Davis, a Texas attorney, founded it in 1975. It has since grown to become an international non-profit organization active on over 1800 university campuses in more than 40 countries. Guided by faculty advisors who are named Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellows in honor of the late Wal-Mart founder, SIFE Teams establish a variety of community outreach programs that teach free enterprise.

SIFE Teams create economic opportunities in their communities by organizing outreach projects that teach market economics, entrepreneurship, personal financial success skills and business ethics. The resulting projects are judged at competition on creativity, innovation and effectiveness.

For additional information, contact Dr. Patrick at 956-326-2547, e-mail jmpatrick@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the Western Hemispheric Trade Center 221.

For more information on SIFE, visit sife.org.

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