Island University Supports International Education, Partners with Korean High School

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi continues to strengthen diversity, international cooperation and institutional friendship through the signing of a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Sejong Academy of Science and Arts (SASA), a high school for high-achieving students located in the Republic of Korea. The agreement, which was signed on Jan. 30, is just the start of an educational alliance that will encourage the exchange of scientific knowledge and provide opportunities for SASA students to work with Island University engineering experts.

“Developing our students so they can function in a global economy is something that is very important to this University,” said Kelly M. Quintanilla, president and CEO of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “Allowing A&M-CC students to work with students from other cultures helps them develop the relationships needed to network in the future. Additionally, they develop a cultural awareness that will help them become leaders in the global market.”

The signing took place in the University Center, Legacy Ballroom and was attended by President Quintanilla, Island University representatives and SASA representatives including:

  • Frank Pezold, Ph.D. and dean of the College of Science and Engineering (COSE);
  • D. Chen, Ph.D. and associate dean for research;
  • David Bridges, Ph.D. and engineering department chair;
  • Iltai (Isaac) Kim, Ph.D. and assistant professor of engineering and MOU lead organizer;
  • Heonsoo Kim, Ph.D. and SASA principal;
  • Heekune Lee, Ph.D. and SASA director;
  • Junho Jun, SASA faculty.

“This partnership is the start of an excellent opportunity to introduce some of the best students in Korea to the programs and faculty we have here at the University,” said Pezold. “It also gives our faculty the opportunity to engage with talented and motivated students they could potentially recruit.”

SASA was founded in 2015 and currently has an enrollment of 276 students. As part of a rigorous curriculum, students are required to complete a creative research project in their first year of school, a summer internship program, an independent research project during their second year and a graduation thesis during their third year. With the MOU signing, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will participate in SASA’s Overseas Research Program. According to SASA, the program provides an opportunity for gifted learners to expand their expertise and global knowledge, increase their awareness of international research trends and gain on-site experience while carrying out cooperative projects with international research staff.

“This partnership is an opportunity to build a ‘win-win’ relationship between the College of Science and Engineering and Sejong Academy,” said Kim. “SASA enrolls the top one percent of Korean high school students and I am excited to give these high-achieving students the opportunity to continue exploring their interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics here at A&M-Corpus Christi in hopes that they will one day wish to continue their education as Islanders.”

In addition, the signing will open the doors to international collaboration for COSE engineering faculty who will gain opportunities to collaborate and participate in seminars, lectures, symposia and academic meetings during summer or winter breaks in both countries.