By Mika Mandelbaum
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, November 9, 2005
The expansion of a 25-year-old agreement will bring up to 100 doctoral students from Mexico to the UA next fall, officials said.
The Graduate College and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia (Conacyt) agreed to jointly pay for up to 100 Mexican doctoral students to study at the UA, said Maria Teresa Velez, associate dean of the Graduate College.
In doing so, the university expects to advance its research and the diversity on campus, Velez said.
The original partnership between the UA and Conacyt was begun 25 years ago and, until now, only provided 20 out-of-state tuition scholarships to the Mexican students, Velez said.
The new agreement will fund the students' studies for five years, which is the typical length of a doctoral studies program, Velez said.
Conacyt will pay for the first three years and the UA will pay for the last two years, either through research grants for the research assistants or through regular temporary teaching funds for the teaching assistants, Velez said.
"It is an outstanding opportunity to bring in very smart students in a neighboring country that will help us conduct research and add to the diversity of the student body," Velez said.
The program is highly selective with a long application process that includes interviews, an English assessment test and writing several essays, said Enue Sicairos, a Mexican doctoral student in the department of soil, water and environmental science.
Sicairos said she came to the university from Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, through Conacyt because the UA was one of the best for her field of study and because she wanted the experience of living in a different country.
"I really like it and I really think that it is a learning experience not only in getting knowledge in microbiology, but learning to be independent," Sicairos said.
Students like Sicairos are coming in through Conacyt and accomplishing a lot for their research fields, Velez said.
Sicairos started at the UA in spring 2004 and recently won the top award in the student showcase for her research on the antibacterial effects of copper and silver.
When Sicairos completes her degree program, she said she plans to return to Mexico where she wants to teach at the Autonomous University of Sinaloa.
Overall, Sicairos said she felt the program gave her the opportunity to attend graduate school and could be motivating for others who cannot afford higher education.
"There are many intelligent people, but sometimes they don't have the money, so using Conacyt is a really good way to come here and get more knowledge," Sicairos said.