Reaching out Across the Border

Graduate Studies Opportunities for Mexican Students

The Mexican state of Sonora, which borders on Arizona, can be reached from Tucson in a one-hour drive. The city is located only 60 miles away from the international border. Sonora is a very active mining region; in 2016 it accounted for 86% of copper and 36% of gold mined in Mexico. With 7.3% of the population employed by the extractive and electricity industries and mining paying attractive salaries, the University of Arizona could be an attractive proposition for undergraduate and graduate studies in the mining engineering area.



Group of La Salle students in front of San Xavier mine
Students from Universidad La Salle at the San Xavier mine with Nadia Alvarez (far left) and Mario Muñoz (far right)

13 students pursuing a bachelor in Mining and their professor from Universidad La Salle Noroeste travelled nearly 400 miles from Ciudad Obregón to Tucson to see with their own eyes what the University has to offer. The Lowell Institute cooperated with UA Global’s Director of Mexico Programs, Dr. Nadia Alvarez Mexia, to bring them on a tour of the San Xavier mine in October 2019 and tell them about opportunities to join the Mining Engineering program at the University.

To reach more students in Sonora and let them know about Graduate Programs in Mining & Geological Engineering (MGE), the University set up a 90-minute webinar in February 2020. UA Global, International and Graduate Admissions, the MGE department, the Mexican Council for Science and Technology, and other Mexican institutions collaborated on a presentation on the MGE department, the application process, scholarships available and navigating cultural differences. 58 students from Universidad La Salle and three other Universities dialed into Zoom to listen to the seven presenters in Tucson. A recording is available in our YouTube channel.


Five presenters at the University in Tucson looking at the webcam
Webinar presenters in Tucson in front of the webcam

After a short introduction by Lowell Institute Recruitment Coordinator Mario Muñoz, Dr. John Kemeny and Prof. Victor Tenorio explained the degrees offered at through the Mining & Geological Engineering department and Graduate Admissions Director Rhea Gowin explained the admissions process for graduate and international students like required English proficiency. Although the emphasis was on graduate programs, Humberto Fierro-Laredo from UA Global also explained how international students can apply for undergraduate studies, and Nadia Alvarez Mexia discussed the differences, challenges and opportunities between the higher education systems in Mexico and the US.

Financing tuition and living expenses can be a major hurdle to studying abroad. The Mexican National and Sonoran State Councils for Science and Technology, short CONACYT and COECYT, can help. Dr. Rafael A. Sabory García from COECYT switched the webinar language to Spanish to explain the requirements for and volume of the scholarships provided, which cover tuition, health insurance and a monthly stipend for living expenses.

Another way for future undergraduate and graduate mining engineering students to enrol at University of Arizona is provided by the Arizona-Mexico Commission which gives Sonora citizens scholarships and offers them in-state tuition, thus opening an institutional and financial pathway.

The webinar is well on its way to becoming a regular occurrence, with a second airing on June 25, 2020 – this time completely in Spanish and reaching not only Mexican students, but also universities in Peru and Chile.