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MSA Students Travel to Austin to Listen to Legislators  

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – FEBRUARY 19, 2013 – Five students from the Mathematics and Science Academy at The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College will travel on Wednesday, Feb. 20 to Austin to watch Texas government in action. 

MSA Students to Visit Texas Capitol on Wednesday
Mathematics and Science Academy students Alfred Ogletree, Samantha Gomez, Irania Rodriguez, Lauren Sanchez will travel Wednesday to Austin. Not pictured is Adrian Husain.

Seniors Samantha Gomez, 17; Adrian Husain, 17 and Irania Rodriguez, 18, all of Brownsville along with Alfred Ogletree, 18, of Laguna Vista and Lauren Sanchez, 17, of Los Fresnos will visit the House Committee on Higher Education at 2 p.m. at the Texas Capitol. The students will watch the committee hearing on House Bill 1000 which calls for merging The University of Texas at Brownsville and The University of Texas – Pan American in Edinburg and creating a medical school.

 The proposed legislation also calls for establishing the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science for junior and senior high school students to take a rigorous combination of high school- and university-level courses to earn a high school diploma and an associate degree at the same time. The academy expands on the Mathematics and Science Academy established at UTB by the 79th Texas Legislature in May 2005.  

“I would want the legislators to realize how big of an impact the MSA has on the lives of high school students,” said Sanchez. “It would be good for more students to have the experiences we have had.” 

The students have had opportunities to do work beyond the classroom. Sanchez works as a supplemental instructor in the Department of History and Husain tutors students in calculus. 

Gomez has worked alongside university students on epilepsy research in the laboratory of Dr. Emilio Garrido, an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and Gene Therapy in Department of Biomedicine in the College of Biomedical Sciences. She also co-presented the research poster “The Expressing of Synaptic Vesicle Proteins in Experimental Temporal Lobe Epilepsy” last September at The University of Texas at El Paso. 

“MSA means my future to me,” said Gomez, who wants to be a neurologist. “Now I realize coming to MSA takes so much more. Once you walk out of high school not everything is available to you.”  

Also scheduled to testify is Dr. Juliet V. Garcia, President of UTB and Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, President of UTPA. 

The visit is a continuing effort to educate legislators on the importance of having one four-year university and a medical school in the region. The visit follows up on the presence that university students and staff members created at Rio Grande Valley Higher Education Day on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at the Texas Capitol. The state House of Representatives and Senate both passed resolutions recognizing the day and also featured performances from musical groups from the universities and students and staff members that rode buses from each campus to Austin.

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