Erika De La O and others from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University have traveled hundreds of miles outside the United States, touting the perks of NMSU to recruit more international students.
De La O, a planning officer, was one of several representatives from the College of ACES who crisscrossed Chihuahua state in Mexico last fall to engage with hundreds of potential students at agricultural expos in Ciudad Juárez, Delicias and Chihuahua City. The recruiting team also included Patricia Cabrales, Efren Delgado, Heber Lara and Yesenia Palma.
The endeavor was part of coordinated efforts by the College of ACES to recruit more international students to NMSU. In addition to Mexico, ACES faculty and staff have carried out recruitment activities in India, China, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and other Latin American countries.
“We delivered the mission of the College of ACES while providing information about scholarships and all the resources we can offer to international students,” De La O said. “I’m proud to say we recruited five students. You can see the enthusiasm in their eyes. They’re not only very passionate about coming to the United States, but they’re also truly eager to study at NMSU.”
One of those students was Omar Sigala, a native of Chihuahua City who met De La O at the Feria Expo Ganadera in Ciudad Juárez. Before meeting De La O, Sigala believed attending college in the U.S. was financially impossible.
“A friend told me about NMSU in high school, and I always thought it would be too expensive,” he said, “but I learned that’s not the case.”
Following the expo, Sigala decided NMSU would be the perfect place to study animal science and prepare him for veterinary school. He moved to New Mexico last fall and began working on a bachelor’s degree.
“I’m really happy I came here – I’ve been enjoying this adventure,” said Sigala, who recently completed his second semester at NMSU. “I think other international students should consider coming to NMSU. It can be difficult, but there are people like Erika who will help you and make you feel like you’re not alone.”
On one of the visits to Mexico last fall, Cabrales, a post-doctoral researcher in the Family and Consumer, and others met several researchers from the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias, a research center that specializes in agriculture.
“We are now working to develop future research,” Cabrales said. “We also identified several undergraduate students who want to complete their graduate education at NMSU.”
Last year, dozens of high school and college students from Mexico visited NMSU as part of additional recruiting efforts coordinated by the ACES Global Initiatives Program. Following the visits, seven high school students applied to undergraduate programs in Animal and Range Sciences and Plant and Environmental Sciences departments, and five students expressed interest in applying to graduate programs in the same departments.
Manoj Shukla, director of the ACES Global Initiatives Program, said the college is also developing a Ph.D. program for college educators in Mexico. The program would allow those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree to pursue a Ph.D. at NMSU. Shukla added that the college has joined a European Union mobility program with Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic. The program facilitates student exchanges between Mendel University and NMSU, he said.
“Now more than ever, it is important for our college to think globally and make an effort to attract more international students,” College of ACES Dean Rolando A. Flores Galarza said. “This will put NMSU in a better position to solve our most pressing scientific issues and help the people of New Mexico and beyond by fostering international trade.”
A version of this story was first published in the spring 2023 issue of ACES Magazine. To read the issue, visit https://nmsu.news/ACES-Mag-Spring-2023.