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Civil and Architectural Engineering Forms Global Connection

February 8, 2018
Men in hard hats examine concrete wall in lab
Exchange students from Mexico take part in a workshop at UW's High Bay Research Facility.

A new exchange program will offer University of Wyoming students a chance to study at an institution in Mexico known for its design capabilities.

To begin the program, students from Mexico visited UW. A group from Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán in Mérida, Mexico, visited campus in the summer of 2017 for a civil engineering program.

It was hosted by UW Associate Professor Jennifer Tanner and UADY Dean of Engineering Luis Enrique Fernández Baqueiro and Professor Jorge Luis Varela Rivera. The students who attended the program included Eduardo Alexis Ramírez Sánchez, Mildred Mariana Rivero Pérez, Luis Armando Pérez Jiménez, Gaspar Alberto Alcocer Gómez, Wilmer Gabriel Canul Varguez and Ruby Gabriela Parra Cardeña.

The students, along with graduate students from UW, used equipment in the recently opened High Bay Research Facility. They constructed concrete walls for pressure testing, learning about job planning and other technical aspects of a civil engineering education. This was the first part of the planned two-part exchange. This year, the students from UADY come to Laramie and in 2018, UW civil and architectural students will travel to Mexico.

Tanner says she focused on creating a workshop that featured active learning, a key part of the UW engineering curriculum.

“After setting up the beam, all the students said ‘Thank you,’” she says. “They loved the opportunity.”

Count Sánchez among those who had a transformational experience.

“Everything was perfect,” he says. “We don’t have these facilities in Mexico. I would like to come here in the future if I can. All the people were very kind. I’m very happy and I would invite other students to come here. I want to be an example to others to say don’t be afraid to try new things.”

The students experienced campus life, and also saw some of the things that make Laramie a truly special place. They visited Vedauwoo and the Medicine Bow Mountains, even taking the time to make a snowman in the Snowy Range.

“It’s important to do this to break barriers and implement some mobility for our students,” Baqueiro says. “We have found relationships that are beneficial to all. The students get to come here and learn and develop their English skills. They were very excited. The activities we got to do, both technically and culturally, made for a very rich experience.”

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