Promoting collaboration

In addition to learning, students were able to connect with one another for the first time in person. 

In February, students formed four binational project teams researching the vulnerability of agricultural systems to drought, sustainable nitrogen fertilizer use, identification of crop water stress from satellites, and cultural differences in attitudes towards water. Each team consisted of students from both universities.

Students were also able to network professionally with one another while on this trip.

“I had the opportunity to learn what my classmates were doing with their thesis or research topics, and we realized that we all were working in similar fields so there was a great exchange of knowledge and experiences,” Fernandez said. She hopes there will be further collaboration in the future, following the end of the TEAM program.

Applying knowledge

The faculty and students who participated in this trip will be able to apply their knowledge and experiences to their work in this program and beyond.

“This experience will be leveraged in the U.S.-Mexico TEAM program to inform other locations that we are studying in the Sonora Desert in Arizona and Sonora,” Vivoni said.

Fernandez plans to apply this knowledge to both her TEAM project and her thesis, which is on runoff generation, surface water generated by sources like rainfall. She hopes to never forget this experience.

“The program will end in December — for us. But I hope there is another program for other people because I think it is a great experience,” Fernandez said.

About TEAM

The U.S.-Mexico Training in Environment, Agriculture and Management (TEAM) program is the result of a 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Award, the U.S. Department of State’s signature hemispheric-wide initiative to champion the power of education to transform societies, provide opportunity and stimulate economic prosperity. The objective of the grant is to improve student competencies and provide real-world training for the future workforce in sustainable agriculture. This program is also funded by the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy.

Written by Jenna Nabors