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Global Engagement Grant Recipients 2020

Social Entrepreneurship Program

William A. Brown, Ph.D, PI
Bush School of Government and Public Service

John T. Manhire, Ph.D, PI
Assistant Dean and Chief of Staff
School of Innovation

Andrew P. Morriss, Ph.D, PI
Professor, Bush School of Government and Public Service
Dean, School of Innovation
Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development

Robert Shandley, Ph.D, PI
Professor, College of Liberal Arts
Associate Dean, School of Innovation


The Social Entrepreneurship Program taps into the 2nd largest pathway from poverty to prosperity in the world, the artisan sector, to bring a new market to international artisans and gives Texas A&M student/faculty teams the opportunity to solve some of the biggest social problems in the artists’ home markets. The program will eventually establish an annual artisans fair, bringing dozens of accomplished artists and artisans to campus. A percentage of the proceeds of their sales will then, in turn, be used to address needs in their native communities. This is both an opportunity for artisan entrepreneurs to market their products internationally, and for students and faculty to engage in real-world, multidisciplinary projects with significant social impact.

There are two phases to this program. The first is essentially a marketing/sales opportunity for international artisans to come to Texas, educate the local citizenry on their goods and business models, and establish direct sales with purchasers. The second phase involves curated teams of students and faculty from multiple disciplines to establish a relationship with each entrepreneur early in the process, strengthen that relationship through the artisan’s time in Texas, and ultimately make a group field trip to the artisan’s home community to survey the most pressing social needs of the community, and provide practical solutions for these problems. This second phase is a global community engagement complement to the I-School’s established Innovation [X] program.


FORWARD: Toward Resilient and Food Secure Communities in the Face of Global Threats
Michelle Meyer, PhD, PI
Director and Assistant Professor
Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning

Rabi H. Mohtar, PhD, PI
Dean, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences

Valentini Pappa, PI
Assistant Director of Education
Texas A&M Energy Institute
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Co-PI:  Mirella AounBassel DaherGhada SalmaAhmed Abdel-Wahab
 FORWARD offers a one-month transformative international experience in which Texas A&M students will acquire the knowledge and tools to impact and improve the resilience and food security of communities under different natural hazards scenarios. The Student Research Experience will occur in either Lebanon or Qatar and it will include attendance at WEF and Food Security conferences in the Middle East. The program also includes the opportunity to attend never-before-offered courses at Texas A&M and taught by AUB faculty members. Students will participate in a “Special Topics Seminar Series” offered by speakers from across the world. Top performing students will receive financial support to attend a special food security conference; all students will present their brief communication paper at the new “Disaster Readiness Conference”, taking place at Texas A&M, USA. The requested funding for FORWARD will establish a program that will become self-sustaining and self-funded through the continuing recruitment support of the Institute of International Awareness. FORWARD is open to students earning a Master of Science in Energy or following the Certificate in Energy, or Certificate in Environmental Hazard Management as a part of their major at Texas A&M, and following successful completion of any graduate degree program.  The Texas A&M Energy Institute will do the recruitment in cooperation with the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, the Institute of International Awareness, and the College of Architecture.



Educator Network Grant for Aggies in a Global Environment – South Africa
(E.N.G.A.G.E. – SA)

Cassidy Caldwell, PI
Graduate Student, Multicultural Education
Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture (TLAC)

Garth V. Crosby, Dip. Ed. Ph.D, PI
Associate Professor & Program Coordinator
aggieTEACH-Engineering, Multidisciplinary Engineering Technology
Department of Engineering Technology & Industrial Distribution

Rebecca Hankins Ph.D, PI
Professor, Affiliated Faculty: Africana Studies and Certified Archivist
Presidential Appointee: National Historical Publications & Records Commission, Nat’l Archives
Wendler Endowed Professor
Society of American Archivist Fellow, Librarian/Curator

Valerie Hill-Jackson, Ph.D, PI
Assistant Dean, Educator Preparation and School Partnerships
Clinical Professor, Teacher Education
Office of the Dean

Laura Wilding, PI
aggieTEACH-Science, Program Coordinator

Melanie Moser Ph.D, PI
Chair of Foundational Sciences |Advisor for Marine Sciences

Jemimah L. Young, Ph.D, PI
Multicultural Education Program Coordinator
Associate Professor, Multicultural Education and Urban Education
Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture (TLAC)


The Educator Network Grant for Aggies in a Global Environment, South Africa (E.N.G.A.G.E. – SA), an innovative experiential initiative, utilizes the best aspects of the College of Education and Human Development’s (CEHD) clinical teaching practices and elevates the experiences for prospective science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educators. The E.N.G.A.G.E. — SA program will be buoyed by the aggieTEACH program to create an intensive, competency-based, and international study abroad program that will be seamless across programs and within course curricula. The aggieTEACH program is an existing and highly successful secondary teacher certification program for non-education majors, which is spearheaded by the CEHD, in collaboration with several colleges across the university and the Texas A&M campus of Galveston. Further, CEHD is a leading college for study abroad experiences for undergraduate learners across the university.  
The aim of this project is to develop an innovative STEM ‘tutor/teach abroad’ program for aggieTEACH students in partnership with the University of Cape Town (UCT) – a world-class institution1. The CEHD, Africana Studies program in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), aggieTEACH programs affiliated with the Department of Marine Biology at TAMU Galveston, College of Science, and College of Engineering, as well as the Schools Improvement Initiative (SII)2 at the UCT, South Africa. All entities are collaborating to offer future aggieTEACH students from STEM-related colleges and South African teachers a transformative field experience. Through coursework and early field teaching experiences, prospective secondary STEM teachers will become familiar with theories and issues related to diversity, globalism, culture, intercultural sensitivity and communication. These cultural competency skills for educators impact the teaching and learning process (Bottiani, Larson, Debnam, Bischoff, & Bradshaw, 2018; McAllister, & Irvine, 2000) are often overlooked in the STEM fields (Joy, Aryana, & Leonard, 2019; Santiago, 2017). During their international practicum experience, prospective aggieTEACH educators will apply these theories while tutoring a group of diverse learners in South African classrooms and reflect on their efforts.

The Growing Importance of Global Health Security
Christine Crudo Blackburn, Ph.D, PI
Deputy Director, Pandemic and Biosecurity Program
Assistant Research Scientist
Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs, The Bush School of Government & Public Service

Rebecca Fischer, Ph.D, PI
Assistant Professor
Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
School of Public Health

Leslie Ruyle, Ph.D, PI
Associate Director, Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs
Associate Research Scientist
The Bush School of Government and Public Service
Adjunct Faculty, Department of Ecology and Conservation Biology
The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has demonstrated the way in which infectious diseases move fluidly across borders. An emerging infectious disease can easily spread across the globe in a matter of weeks. Our modern-day interconnectedness makes the interface between science and policy increasingly important and requires innovative strategies to protect human health. Well-designed, scientifically-based policy can make an important difference in our ability to identify and contain infectious diseases. For this reason, understanding the intersection of science and policy, as well as the borderless movement of infectious disease, is vital to global health security.
This project aims to introduce students to the growing importance of global health security by increasing their knowledge about the epidemiology of vector-borne diseases of local and international importance and boosting their competence on strategies for and challenges to controlling their spread. Students will gain an understanding of the interaction between humans, animals, and the environment—One Health—and learn about how policy and science intersect.
To meet these goals, students will study one of the most successful and widespread vector-borne diseases in the world – Dengue fever.
Students will learn about disease epidemiology, vector ecology, and vector-control policies and implementations. Students will gain an appreciation for challenges to controlling spread of infectious diseases across international borders and an understanding of the global health context, including knowledge, awareness, and perceptions about diseases such as Dengue. They will also identify and articulate differences in these factors between individuals in endemic countries and the U.S. This project is designed to provide students with epidemiologic and social science fieldwork skills, an international context of infectious disease occurrence and spread, a high-impact learning experience in the field of One Health, and an opportunity to learn from researchers in different parts of the world.
In Texas, Dengue is not yet established at a level that can sustain ongoing transmissions throughout the state, despite the fact that mosquitoes are an active part of Texas ecology. Rather, infections in the state tend to be imported by U.S. travelers returning home or by immigrants, visitors, or other foreign travelers coming from tropical countries where it is endemic.
Little is known about Dengue throughout the border region. In 2005, the city of Brownsville experienced an outbreak of Dengue that involved 25 hospitalizations and 16 severe cases, which involves severe abdominal pain, hemorrhaging, and difficulty breathing that can be fatal. In addition to severe cases presenting in local hospitals, another study found that 38% of Brownsville residents have immunologic evidence of prior Dengue infection, suggesting a greater burden of disease in that city than previously thought. In light of the massive Dengue epidemic in 2019, there is an urgency to understanding its epidemiologic situation in this important region of the U.S. For this proposal, students will play an important role in answering critical and timely questions about our nation’s health and security.