Category: Civil Affairs

CARES Act provides campus loaner laptops

CARES Act provides campus loaner laptops

By Gabriela Chapa
Bridge Staff Intern

Published Monday, Sept. 14, 2020

Purchasing 500 laptops for its new Student Loaner Laptop Program, TAMIU helps students continue course attendance during the fall semester.

As the times continue to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the return to face-to-face classes, Texas A&M International University released a new program where students can check out a laptop for the semester.

The Student Loaner Laptop Program was created through the TAMIU CARES Program with the goal of helping students who struggle with technology and want to continue their classes. TAMIU purchased these devices that are being distributed to students. Students enrolled in both Fall and Spring semesters will be able to keep the computer until the completion of their academic year on May 15.

Gabriela Chapa | Bridge
Biology major Monica Molina tests out one of the University’s laptops similar to the loaner Dell models on Sept. 3 in the Zaffirini Student Success Center.

This program is first-come first-serve and the application is now open for students to apply. The Office of Outreach will review applications and devices will be distributed after the 20th day of classes on Sept. 18. The students are welcome to apply anytime during the semester. The program will be open to students as long as devices are available. The laptops will be equipped with most of the software students need, including Microsoft Office, and the Office of Informational Technology will be there for whatever issues students might have. The laptop model for this program will be the Dell 3410, which is compact and portable for students to easily carry it around campus or move around their homes.

Scheiby González Fisher, executive director of TAMIU Outreach and Pre-College Programs, said this initiative was a way to help students persist during these difficult times.

“This is an initiative that the University decided to pursue for the students,” Fisher said. “It is something that TAMIU decided [jt] wanted to do to help students, especially considering the situation we are dealing with, with technology issues. We know that there are students that don’t have either … [a] working device or don’t have devices period, so the University decided [it] wanted to go ahead and purchase this equipment. The equipment was purchased with TAMIU CARES funds. With CARES, at the end of the day, we are trying to help and give back to the students.”

Gabriela Chapa | Bridge
The University’s new loaner Dell laptops receive a software update on Sept. 3 as they are prepared for students in the OIT office in the Sue & Radcliffe Killam Library.

TAMIU CARES Act funds are part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27, 2020. This more than $2 trillion economic relief package is intended to protect U.S. citizens from the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury website treasury.gov.

Interested students may submit their application by visiting the website go.tamiu.edu/laptop. Additional information may be learned from the Office of TAMIU Outreach and Pre-College Program at (956) 326- 2700 or email outreach@tamiu.edu.

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Prestigious conference awards TAMIU psychology graduate students

Prestigious conference awards TAMIU psychology graduate students

By Angela K. Carranza
Assistant Editor

Published Monday, Sept. 14, 2020

Five TAMIU students recently earned recognition from one of the highest professional organizations in their chosen career field.

From Aug. 6-9, the American Psychology Association held its yearly conference which included five TAMIU Master of Counseling Psychology graduate students who won poster awards.

Evelyn Campos and Alejandro Flores received Division 49’s Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Poster of the Year Award for promoting diversity and social justice. Their poster was called “Psychoeducational Groups for Latinos: Group Cohesion’s Influence on Fostering Safe Learning Environments.”

Alyssa Vera, Ivette Soto and Rebeca Salazar won Division 27’s Society for Community Research and Action Poster Award for their work titled, “A Stress Management Psychoeducational Group for Latinos: Outcomes and Cultural Factors Contributing to Group Cohesion.”

“Our students worked incredibly hard, [and] doing qualitative research is very taxing and time consuming,” Assistant Professor of psychology Ediza Garcia said. “Our students took data from 2,640 personal responses which were then transcribed and coded into a thematic analysis. So, [these projects took] an [immense] amount of hours [to complete].”

Garcia also serves as MACP program director, where she mentors psychology graduate students like Poster of the Year Award co-recipient Campos.

“We did a lot of research on what works better for Latino college students,” Campos said. “The fact that there is a lack of research [when it comes to Latinos in higher education] is outstanding and very important because I feel that Latinos in higher education is a growing population and there is not a lot of help curated to Latinos in the United States.

“As students of the MACP program, we are all trying to be there and offer support for Latino students in higher education.”

The effects of these projects will be reflected in the coming years and are intended to help other students.

“My most favorite part about this project is just being able to be there for these students and being able to let them know that they can come to a place where they feel safe,” Campos said. “[They] can tell us how they feel, knowing that their sessions are confidential and will be used to help future individuals.”

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ALUMNI SUCCESSES: Alumnus lives TAMIU international mission, makes impact

ALUMNI SUCCESSES: Alumnus lives TAMIU international mission, makes impact

By Matthew Balderas
Bridge Ombudsman
Published Monday, Sept. 14, 2020

[Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of profile articles on the successes of various TAMIU alumni, written by a TAMIU alumnus who recently returned to his alma mater to work on a graduate degree. Matthew Balderas is also a former editor-in-chief of The Bridge.]

First-generation college graduate Osvaldo “Ozzy” Guzman describes getting accepted into TAMIU as one of his family’s most significant accomplishments. After graduation, he continues to raise that bar ever higher.

“I had taken a lot of the experiences that I had undergone in my undergraduate studies,” Guzman said. “I got to be exposed to a lot of leadership [and] I got a lot of opportunities to expand on my abilities personally and professionally. Once I graduated, I headed off for Istanbul, Turkey, where I ran a camp as an English mentor and a camp coordinator and worked with around 25 to 27 students at a time in multiple locations.”

Photo courtesy Osvaldo Guzman

Seeing the impact an English-speaking mentor added for his students, his desire to continue to be a resource for others grew.

“I was able to see first-hand how outside-the-classroom teaching impacted students,” Guzman said. “That idea came further into fruition following Istanbul, Turkey, because I then went to a country in Southeast Asia called the Republic Timor-Leste, where I served as a teacher-trainer and a teacher for the United States Peace Corps.”

Even though he graduated with a degree in business administration and a concentration in international economics, Guzman describes teaching as an integral component of his character and who he is.

Photo courtesy Osvaldo Guzman

“In 2015, I left for my first internship in Washington, D.C., and discovered diversity in so many areas: in people, in different ideals, in different value systems,” he said. “When I came back to Laredo, I was more passionate than ever to spread that enthusiasm to other students. 

“Since that moment, I had returned … I had a self-driven purpose to show other students what I saw and felt.” 

He accomplished this by founding ALPHA, the Association of Latino Professionals for America, on campus and began a mentorship program for the Laredo community.

“With ALPHA, we not only went to national conferences … where the experiences allowed for not only myself but for my team to be more well-rounded leaders … that followed on to the idea of, ‘How else can we take what we learned and bring it forward to the community?’” Guzman recalled. “That led to creating mentorship seminars between student leaders at the University and students at the high school level.”

Photo courtesy Osvaldo Guzman

The transition from mentoring students in English proficiency in the U.S. to abroad was smooth, but Guzman never predicted the rough patch that laid ahead.

“I was working with host country nationals on putting forward a community grant project where we would secure more technology for the school as we had already done the year before … [and] maximize our time together to create more resources for teachers and students,” Guzman said. “[Upon leaving that meeting,] I had just received a call about an evacuation that was going on, which was the direct effect from COVID.

“We needed to evacuate immediately from Timor-Leste and, moreover that, it wasn’t just us–the Peace Corps community in Timor-Leste–it was Peace Corps global.”

Although his teaching experience was cut short due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, he realizes teachers’ fear of being in the classroom is real and offers advice.

“One of the things that really made our jobs just a little tougher was the access and inaccessibility to resources,” Guzman said. “My advice for teachers would be to maximize your resources; we have some of the most advanced technology in the world, here in the United States. I encourage teachers to use all of it.”

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City issues quarantine orders, not applicable to TAMIU

City issues quarantine orders, not applicable to TAMIU

By David Gomez Jr.
Editor-in-chief

Published Monday, Sept. 7, 2020

Laredo Health Authority Dr. Victor Treviño laid down quarantine orders last week on two of TAMIU’s buildings only to later rescind those orders under state revocation.

On Tuesday, Sept. 1, Treviño had papers served to Texas A&M International University for a quarantine of the Academic Innovation Center and the Kinesiology, Wellness, & Recreation Center.

Jessica Rodriguez | Bridge
Social distancing signs are placed all over campus, as seen Sept. 4.

“Under the orders issued by Governor [Greg] Abbott and other state law, the (Laredo health authority) does not have the legal power to issue quarantine orders to this University,” TAMIU President Pablo Arenaz wrote in an email on Sept. 2. “We have explained this to the LHA on multiple occasions, but they refused to recognize the limits on their authority and issued orders that are simply unlawful. As a result, a short while ago the Texas Department of State Health Services exercised its authority to revoke the orders issued by the LHA and eliminate the confusion unnecessarily created by the LHA.”

The City of Laredo powers provided to the health authority are simply to provide recommendations and guidance. This is not to be confused with the health director who runs operations and oversees public outreach and logistical response for the Laredo Health Department.

“This matter has been resolved,” TAMIU Director of Public Relations and Marketing Steve Harmon told The Bridge in an email. “As you may have heard, Dr. Treviño rescinded the quarantine notice, and we look forward to continuing to partner with the City of Laredo in our shared commitment to the health and safety of the University community and the community at large.”

Jessica Rodriguez | Bridge
Facial covering disclaimers are placed at each campus entrance, as seen Sept. 4.

The Texas Department of State Health Services sided with TAMIU to keep its doors open since the University followed state guidelines.

The University tested 681 people, Arenaz wrote in an email on Sept. 2. Twelve came back positive. Only one attended class in person. As of Sept. 4, the TAMIU COVID-19 web page reported the following stats: TAMIU on-campus testing — Total tested: 782. Positive: 14. Inconclusive: 7. Estimated recovered: 2. Positivity rate: 1.79%.

In his Sept. 2 email, Arenaz pointed to TAMIU’s low positivity rate of then 1.76% as proof that the quarantine orders were unnecessary.

Comparatively, as of Sept. 7, the City of Laredo reports on its website testing 139,235 times. There are currently 668 active case results from a total of 12,094 confirmed cases. Of the positive cases, 121 were hospitalized, 11,053 estimated recovered and 252 deceased.

Social distancing, face coverings, washing and sanitizing frequently are some of the tools and routines being used to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Harmon continued in the email, “We thank our TAMIU community for their partnership in this … observe all possible preventive actions. Remain diligent every day.” He added, “This disease plays no favorites, but these practices have been proven to minimize the spread of the virus.”

Harmon provided a list of the different measures staff have taken, such as free COVID-19 testing, campuswide cleaning, enhanced HVAC filtering, socially distanced classrooms and meeting spaces, along with utilizing the help of public health and nursing faculty.

As much as these preventive measures are practiced, many students expressed their opinions and concerns of Arenaz’s and the University’s handling of the quarantine notice by the city on the unofficial TAMIU Student Network page on Facebook.

Among the comments, worries of having a science lab class during these times is a risk some students felt unnecessary.

“I understand where they’re coming from, but they must understand that it is not my decision to have them come into lab,” faculty adjunct Chris Rosales said. “They must have patience with us instructors as we are learning and going through this together.”

To be certain, not all of the social media posts are written from a well-informed status.

“When actions are debated via social media it is most often without the benefit of the facts of the matter,” Harmon told The Bridge in an email. “Soon, one person’s opinion becomes the next person’s fact and a flawed narrative is built.”

Harmon also noted Arenaz’s dedication and commitment to making the semester work are his highest priorities. The president earned a doctorate in microbiology.

“Every day, he works with our partners, the city, system, state and federal, to make sure that this campus is as safe as humanly possible,” Harmon continued in the email. “His commitment is total.”

Harmon concluded, “Like any entity here or around the globe, it is unrealistic to expect the University will have zero incidences. What all can be assured of is that the University will always do its very best to reduce the likelihood of incidence.”

This is not the first time Treviño had a disagreement over pandemic policies regarding education. On July 9, he signed an order for local elementary and secondary schools to conduct classes virtually. In late July, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a guidance letter stating that local health authorities did not have the power to issue sweeping school closures to minimize infection rates.

“I think [Paxton] mentioned I can’t close the school due to prevention of illness. But this is not prevention, this is already an outbreak in the whole city. This has nothing to do with prevention,” he told The Laredo Morning Times regarding that earlier disagreement.

His contract with the City of Laredo, which began May 1, lasts through April 30, 2022.

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$4.75 million TAMIU CARES Program grants emergency funds to students

$4.75 million TAMIU CARES Program grants emergency funds to students

By Jessica Rodriguez
Director of Photography
Published Monday, May 4, 2020

On April 24, TAMIU announced it will give emergency grants to students thanks to the TAMIU CARES Program. These funds could begin disbursing to applicants as early as May 8.

As one of the many universities which received this emergency grant from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act approved by the Department of Education, Texas A&M International University was awarded $9 million. This amount was based on the number of students enrolled who qualify for the Pell Grant and those who do not. According to the CARES Act, the money would be split in half so $4.75 million will go to the university and the other half provided to students in the form of grants, refunds, loan forgiveness or campus-based waivers.

TAMIU President Pablo Arenaz said this emergency aid would help students directly affected by COVID-19.

“Thousands of TAMIU students and their families have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Arenaz began in an email sent to students, faculty and staff. “ Some students may even be questioning their ability to continue their degree dream. The availability of this assistance will be a welcome relief and we are thankful to our congressional delegation for their leadership on this.”

Those interested may look up additional information at https://www.tamiu.edu/cares/.

Jessica Rodriguez | Bridge Photo Illustration
A TAMIU student reviews the TAMIU CARES Emergency Funds website for the spring semester.

Because of this aid, the University set up the TAMIU CARES Emergency Fund. The money would go directly into the form of emergency grants distributed during the spring, summer and fall semesters for 2020. In order to access these grants, students must apply through an online application. TAMIU requested students apply through this application with supporting documentation of unforeseen hardships due to COVID-19, which include: food insecurity, urgent medical expenses, utility bills, school expenses, and on-campus and off-campus housing. Other requirements may apply.

In addition, students must have a FAFSA file with TAMIU or be eligible for Title IV student assistance.  TAMIU Finance Director Laura Elizondo said TAMIU has 5,760 students who currently meet Title IV eligibility and can qualify for this grant. However, some students have not started or completed their FAFSA, so that number might increase or change. As of last week, about 1,478 students applied but numbers continue to increase.

Elizondo said she and the committee in charge of the TAMIU CARES Program are looking closely at the applications and said all details are important in determining whether a student is eligible for the grant. She said some applications show students focused on their needs for the spring semester, while others did not.

“There’s a lot of students who are submitting, ‘I need help in the summer for tuition,, well this is not the summer right now,” she said. “Anybody who’s submitting right now for applications for summer or next fall they will close up the application and let the students know at this time we’re not processing summer applications. You need to wait and come back and apply later in May. Right now, we have to concentrate and pay out our spring needs.”

She said they are focusing on students who expressed urgent need of funds.

“If you do not own a computer and now you have to work from home and you use a credit card to purchase a computer, that’s a perfect item that we can help reimburse you for,” Elizondo said. “If you do not have internet at home and now you have to add it, that is a perfect item that we can help you pay for. So some students are giving us a lot of [information] while others are not saying much.”

Jessica Rodriguez | Bridge Photo Illustration
A TAMIU student reviews the TAMIU CARES Emergency Funds website for the spring semester.

Moreover, she said if a student does not submit enough documentation for a claim, the committee will contact that student with an email or mobile phone number on file and allow them 48 hours to resubmit any photos of bills or proof to tamiucares@tamiu.edu and someone there will upload the documents for them onto their application.

Elizondo said the first round of funds will go out at the end of the week, possibly May 8 and onward.

For those who do not receive any money for the spring semester, they can still apply for the summer and fall if they are enrolled for classes. The summer application opens up on May 18 and August 17 for fall. Elizondo said summer applications will process through the end of May, June, July and even August because of the different summer sessions students might be enrolled.

She also said it is extremely important for students to apply because this money goes directly to them.

“Students don’t have to confirm what they use [the money] for,” Elizondo said. “If the student said they need it because x,y, z and then they get the money and something else happens and they need it for something else, that is their prerogative. They decide. They don’t have to come back and give us any type of proof of what they used it for.”

A BankMobile account is recommended in order to receive the funds. She encourages people to be patient and know that the University is doing everything it can to help the students during this time.

In addition, students can still apply for other grants like the Student Emergency Grant, the Texas A&M University System Emergency Regent’s Grant and the Lamar Bruni Vergara Emergency Fund—all with their own eligibility requirements.

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QUARANTINE CORNER: Dealing with the pandemic – Part 2

QUARANTINE CORNER: Dealing with the pandemic – Part 2

By Jessica Rodriguez
Director of Photography
Published Monday, April 27, 2020

[Editor’s note: The following is the second installment in a series of articles about different Texas A&M International University students, faculty and staff who are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope their stories can be as inspiring to you as we found them to be.]

Staying at home 24/7 during an almost catastrophic pandemic can be daunting. However, for Texas A&M International University art student Elkin Cortez, he sees this as an opportunity to get back to his creative ventures.

Cortez possesses multiple talents, including art, photography and even a knack for making YouTube videos in his spare time. He says that now, more than ever, he can focus on his passions.

“I am spending a lot of time on my favorite activities during this quarantine,” Cortez said. “Activities such as painting, drawing, videos and photos.”

For many students, the transition from regular college life to a secluded online routine can be challenging. Cortez came to TAMIU from Miguel Aleman Tamaulipas and returned home when the campus transitioned to online classes.

“My routine changed completely because I was living on campus and now I am at home with my family,” he said. “Therefore, the living routine is different.”

COVID-19 undoubtedly altered people’s lives but there are always ways to reshape this new way of life. Students now have time to explore new hobbies and get creative at home. Because of what is going on in the world, new leisure activities can be helpful, both physically and mentally.

He said that although many students are in different situations, he still encourages them to get as creative and productive as possible.

“Try to be as efficient as you can with the time you have,” Cortez said. “Try to strengthen your skills or develop new ones if it’s possible.”

Submitted images | courtesy Elkin Cortez
Elkin Cortez paints in his room during the stay-at-home quarantine.

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Education students tackle the blocks

Education students tackle the blocks

College relaxes grading system

By Andrea Martinez
Bridge contributing writer
Published Monday, April 20, 2020

TAMIU’s College of Education holds one of the highest graduation rates in the University. However, the College does not allow students who do not pass the teacher certification exams to move on to Blocks II and III of the program.

Up to three blocks exist for education students in order to graduate, yet some students are finding a difficult time graduating due to incomplete blocks.

“We want to demonstrate to the school districts that these students showed that they are knowledgeable in the subject they teach,” Associate Dean Alfredo Ramirez Jr. said. 

The intent of this process is to help students prepare for Block III, as this is the final block necessary to graduate. It is also known as clinical teaching; students acquire field-based experience, which is required by the state. At Texas A&M International University, students who do not pass the certification exam cannot go out and gain this experience.

“It is a very stressful thing,” Ec-6 bilingual emphasis major Elia Diaz said, “since I spent three years of my life dedicated to this major for me to get stuck and not be able to move on.”

Difficulties can increase for students since they need to pass not one but four exams for their teacher certification.

Something that helped relieve students included the return of the grading system to normal.

Ramirez said that it was brought back because “Our students now are performing at a higher rate on the state certification exams,” Ramirez said regarding the change in the grading system.

This lifted some weight off some students’ shoulders.

“It was a relief having a normal grading system [again],” Diaz said. “There were some A’s that I missed because of the grading system.” 

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Coronavirus affects TAMIU campus

Coronavirus affects TAMIU campus

By Maria Reynero
Bridge contributing writer 
Published Monday, April 20, 2020

As the threat of COVID-19 spread, TAMIU’s policy began and continues to be following the regulations and guidelines of the City of Laredo Health Department. Since the initial spread, the campus was partially closed for many activities, face masks are required to enter campus buildings, and other initiatives set forth by Laredo.

A virus which began as a case in Wuhan, China, became an outbreak, and spread to numerous other countries before becoming a global pandemic. The coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2, spread to the U.S. It can be deadly once it causes the COVID-19 disease. Anyone showing symptoms is encouraged to seek medical attention and supervision.

As of April 19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website indicates the total U.S. reported coronavirus cases at 720,630, including 37,202 deaths. These statistics include all 50 states and several U.S. territories. Texas alone shows 18,260 cases. So far, there are no reported cases in the U.S. territories of American Samoa, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia or Palau.

New York was hit the hardest, showing 233,570 cases and its neighbor New Jersey at 81,436 cases. Most other larger population states are between 10,000 to 36,000 cases each. The smallest numbers for the states are Alaska at only 314 cases and Wyoming with 423 and Montana with 426.

“[The] CDC is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China … Reported illnesses have ranges from mild to severe, including resulting in death,” according to the CDC website in February.

Health officials studied the virus to discover its respiratory nature, which makes it faster for people to be severely affected.

“It looks like it’s being spread through aerosol droplets,” TAMIU biology instructor Oscar Ramos said in February 2020. “That’s one of the reasons that it’s highly contagious because there are aerosols that come out of your system, and in those aerosols we have the viral particles themselves so it’s the respiratory route.”

The respiratory system is able to bring oxygen and other particles into one’s body, Ramos said, and so these aerosol droplets are inhaled as well and can contaminate nearby people.

“When there is a health outbreak on campus, whether it’s the flu, the coronavirus or meningitis, we have certain standards that we have to follow so we base ourselves on the practice of the City [of Laredo] Health Department,” Director of Student Health Services Claudia Beltran said. “They are the entity in our community that dictates what we’re going to do in a health outbreak. In this situation like the coronavirus, we have certain guidelines that we follow and the Health Department is very responsible in the fact that they send updates every so often whenever new information comes out.” 

There are certain protocols to take when a virus like this threatens a community. TAMIU officials train to prepare for a variety of health outbreaks on campus. They rely on the Health Department for a variety of necessary actions.

“An emergency response kicks in when there is any type of emergency,” Beltran said in February. “We … basically follow what the Health Department [tells] us in that instance. What we do, we start screening students or faculty or whoever it would be here on campus for symptoms that are indicative for coronavirus.

“In this case, if it were to outbreak then we go into what is called an emergency response. Basically, we would set up like a quarantine and so we would have to isolate certain people. Based on what the Health Department tells us, so if they say we would need to keep people here on campus, the living communities like the dorms or the village is where we would start.”

Since February, TAMIU began to implement plans throughout March as it followed Health Department protocols.

“…not approve any foreign travel by Texas A&M International University students, faculty and staff while the outbreak of COVID-19 remains a dynamically changing and uncertain situation. Summer programs, including exchange programs, are also on hold until further notice,” President Pablo Arenaz told all University employees in an early March email.

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LEAP program offers choices

LEAP program offers choices

By Alejandra Pena
Bridge contributing writer
Published Monday, April 13, 2020

With an early acceptance program, TAMIU students can fulfill their dreams of attending a graduate or professional program.

The Laredo Early Acceptance Program is a partnership between Texas A&M International University and the University of Texas Health and Science Center at San Antonio.

“LEAP is a program where students take an agreement where they will be guided through courses and other requirements to be accepted into the program of their interest in UT Health,” LEAP student Desireah Rodman said.

There are five programs available to LEAP students, as well as various advantages that come with program participation.

“Some of the benefits that come with being LEAP students is that we have direct mentoring with the director of health admissions as well as we get to meet some of the faculty and staff from the specific programs of our interest,” Rodman said. “We get to see what makes us strong applicants in order to continue to better ourselves when it is time to apply.”

With LEAP, the program’s goals are to help students develop plans for a successful future.

“LEAP gives us a roadmap for success and acceptance into the programs of our choice,” Rodman said.

The Biology and Chemistry Department in the College of Arts and Sciences guides students to necessary courses needed in order to gain acceptance into the school.

“I would recommend this program to other students interested in the medical field, yet not specifically medical school, because this program offers many tools that students can utilize to accomplish their goal as a healthcare provider,” Rodman said.

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New additions made to the College of Nursing

New additions made to the College of Nursing

By Amber Davila
Bridge contributing writer
Published Monday, April 13, 2020

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences underwent several changes; it continues adding to its variety of degrees.

Now the college offers different types of majors and certifications. Texas A&M International University students can major in more than nursing alone.

“The College of Nursing now has communication disorder, kinesiology non-certification, nursing and starting this fall, we will have public health,” academic adviser Anna Buentello said. “So, that’s a new program upcoming [this] fall semester. This is for the students that are not admitted to the nursing program. We’re gonna recommend that they do the public health program because it has similar requirements with a lower GPA.”

In the nursing program alone there were minor changes, including one affecting the entrance exam.

“In the nursing program itself, nothing has changed besides requiring a 75 or better on every subject in the HESI,” Buentello said.

The College of Nursing expansion includes adding another staff member to its ranks for new programs.

“Felipe Rodriguez is our new academic success coach for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. He is part of our department since last semester in late November,” Buentello said.

With the additional staff member, students should get better assistance in selecting courses, programs and degrees within the college.

“I will be advising the health sciences, which are public health, kinesiology and communication disorders,” Rodriguez said.

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