International exchange program opens new vistas for future scientists

International exchange program opens new vistas for future scientists

August 26, 2015

August 26, 2015

Recently, three gifted engineering students from Mexico stepped upon the ASU campus, each embarking on a personal journey of discovery and challenge as participants in a new cultural exchange program.

2015 was the inaugural year for Biodesign to host three budding scientists: Victor Abraham Guerrero (mentor Wei Kong, Biodesign Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology), Andrea Molina (mentor Rolf Halden, Biodesign Center for Environmental Security), and Maria Josefina Cruz (mentor Joseph Blattman, also CIDV).  Cruz, Abraham and Molina were chosen from their universities to participate in a prestigious four-week program, called COMEXUS, for an intensive, research immersion at ASU’s state-of-the art research powerhouse, the Biodesign Institute. 

The COMEXUS program is a partnership between the U.S. and Mexican governments to bring Mexican scholars to the U.S. for funded study programs in a variety of different fields and at different universities. COMEXUS selects very talented undergrad students to send them to U.S. universities to be exposed to research with the goal that they will choose to apply for graduate degrees in the U.S. and with this, build a pipeline for future scientists in Mexico.

The program is part of a strategy to achieve the goals of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative launched by President Obama to promote student mobility to and from the U.S. to Latin America. It is just a small part of the global footprint of Biodesign research, which includes partnerships with Mexico, China, Africa and South America. 

And it was a reminder how new career paths can be blazed by making connections across borders, to ultimately change and transform lives. 

Learn more about the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund at www.100kstrongamericas.org.

The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is a public-private collaboration of the White House, U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators that was announced by Secretary of State John Kerry in January 2014.  Since then, 48 Innovation Fund grants have been awarded to teams of 110 higher education institutions from 16 countries in the Western Hemisphere region.