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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M, Chevron partnership creates opportunity for Latino students


Lily F. Tercero, President of Texas Southmost college, Chancellor John Sharp, Katherine Banks, vice Chancellor and Dean of TAMU engineering, Shariq Yosufzai, Chevron VP of ombuds, diversity and inclusion, Karan Watson, provost and executive VP of TAMU attend a news conference.

To help build a diverse workforce in the engineering field, A&M partnered with Chevron to form a program that offers a more accessible way for students in the Rio Grande Valley to pursue an A&M engineering degree. 

The Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy at Texas Southmost College, supported by a $5 million donation from Chevron, allows qualified students to be admitted into the Dwight Look College of Engineering, complete their first two years of coursework — taught by A&M faculty — at selected two year colleges and finish their degree at the College Station campus.

Angelica Ruvalcaba, vice president of the A&M Council for Minority Student Affairs and sociology junior, said Latino students in the Rio Grande Valley often face an internal struggle when deciding whether to attend an institution away from home.

“Latinos are very family oriented,” Ruvalcaba said. “Their decision to pursue higher education is viewed as a choice between family and education.”

Melanie Garza, president of CMSA and agricultural leadership and development senior, is separated by a seven hour drive from her family in the Valley. Garza said homesickness affected her studies during her first two years of college. 

“In many Latino families, family always comes first and this program is a great way to experience the best of both worlds — family and higher education,” Garza said. “So having the opportunity to receive an education from a university as amazing as A&M in a hometown where they feel safe and comfortable can really allow them to excel tremendously.”

In addition, the Academy intends to make a college education more affordable for students in Cameron County — a county where more than one in three residents live in poverty, said TSC President Lily Tercero in the news release. 

According to the release, students of the Academy who take two engineering credit hours at A&M and remaining credit hours at a partner two-year institution can save up to $3,500 each semester — amounting to a total of about $14,000 in savings.

The Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy at Texas Southmost College is one of four academies Chevron has contributed to, including academies at Houston Community College in Spring Branch, Alamo Colleges in San Antonio and El Centro College in Dallas. 

At the news conference, Shariq Yosufzai, Chevron vice president of ombuds, diversity and inclusion and university and association relations, said the Academy will help provide opportunities for many underrepresented and first generation college students in the engineering field. 

“Partnering with Texas A&M, a top source of engineering hires for Chevron, to help provide opportunities in the field of engineering will support our efforts to help build the diverse workforce of tomorrow that will be required to meet the energy needs of the future,” Yosufzai said at the conference.

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