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Students from Puerto Rico Conduct Summer Research at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

July 23, 2015

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Two students from Puerto Rico are spending their summer at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi conducting separate research projects which both have environmental impacts on Oso Bay.

Maritza Nevarez is working with Dr. Michael Wetz, Associate Professor of Marine Biology, to collect daily water quality samples from the mouth of Oso Bay. These samples will help researchers better understand how rain drives water flow and associated pollutants out of Oso Bay into Corpus Christi Bay.

Christian D. Baez-Del Valle, under the supervision of Dr. Jeremy Conkle, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, is conducting lab research on microplastics in consumer products. Baez-Del Valle will help quantify the amount of microbeads in consumer products in order to improve our understanding of the amount of plastic particles that enter our waste stream and eventually surface waters.

The students, who were brought to the Island University from Universidad del Este in Puerto Rico, are part of the Department of Homeland Security Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Scholars at Universidad del Este (DHS-STEM SCHOLARS AT UNE) Grant Award #2010-ST-062-000035.

The program provides an eight-week summer research experience for undergraduate students majoring in STEM disciplines. To be selected for the program, eligible students must submit an application, write a personal statement, be interviewed, and provide supporting materials, such as transcripts and references.

Students in the DHS-STEM SCHOLARS AT UNE program are placed in internships through DHS Centers of Excellence. In this case, the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases, located at Texas A&M University, selected Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to work with the students because of Dr. Wetz’s and Dr. Conkle’s scholarly interests.