Designing International Research Experiences to Engage Underrepresented Minority Undergraduates and Introduce Them to Graduate School Conference Paper uri icon


  • Since 1991, the Texas A&M University System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (TAMUS LSAMP) Program has supported underrepresented minority (URM) college students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Throughout the 30 years of TAMUS LSAMPs existence, undergraduate research experiences have been a major programming focus. For the last 14 years, TAMUS LSAMP has sponsored study abroad experiences for its student participants. In 2015, emphasis was placed on students conducting international research instead of just taking courses abroad. Two programs: the Texas A&M University (TAMU) Engineering Learning Community Introduction to Research (ELCIR) program, with a component in Mexico, and the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) Belize: Ridges to Reefs program provide TAMUS LSAMP-sponsored students with faculty-led, hands-on international research experiences. Both programs equip participants with pre-travel classes and training and two-week international excursions and engagement. This paper explores the design and curriculum for the ELCIR and Belize: Ridges to Reefs programs. Program evaluation results including student participants expectations and outcomes from their international experiences are presented as evidence of efficacy. The impact international research experiences had on students awareness of and interest in graduate school is also provided. Similar programs can be reproduced to engage URM and first-generation college students at other colleges or universities.

name of conference

  • American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition

published proceedings

  • Proceedings of American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference & Exposition

author list (cited authors)

  • Merriweather, S., Preuss, M., Avila, J., Butler-Purry, K., Walton, S., Alves, M., ... Garcia, S.

complete list of authors

  • Merriweather, S||Preuss, M||Avila, J||Butler-Purry, Karen||Walton, S||Alves, M||Myint, A||Bahr, K||Withers, K||Zhang, H||Hogan, J||Szczerbinska, B||Garcia, S

publication date

  • June 2022