Arizona-Mexico Trade Comes in Education, Too

5/26/2017 Arizona Public Media

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Flickr/S. Friedberg

Jose Reyes Sanchez was driving through a farm about an hour outside of Mexico City as he listed the crops: pears, peaches and plums. Reyes, an engineering professor at the Autonomous University of Chapingo, then pointed to one of his favorite parts of the farm: a field of oats with a rotating 24-sprinkler irrigation machine dousing it with hundreds of gallons of water per minute.

“My students just took their final exam,” Reyes said. “And they had to get very wet because they had to measure the amount of water that each sprinkler emits.”

For years, Reyes has been taking undergraduate seniors on a field trip to California, Nevada and Arizona to learn more about water efficiency, with stops at companies such as the Tempe-based Salt River Project and the University of Arizona in Tucson.

And every year, one or two of Reyes’ students return to the University of Arizona to pursue graduate degrees from the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.

Last year, they were part of the 81 graduate students from Mexico who enrolled at Arizona colleges with support from a Mexican government-funded scholarship aimed at boosting the ranks of scientists in their country. (That’s out of a combined graduate student enrollment of more than 20,000 at the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University.)

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