The University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) and the Residential Center for Educational Opportunities at Mayagüez (CROEM) have renewed a collaborative agreement that will grant students from the boarding high school access to the research laboratories at the university. It will also provide opportunities for students from the Teacher Preparation Program (TPP) at the university to do their internships at the educational center, among other benefits for both institutions.
“The signing of this agreement represents the renewal of a commitment we have between CROEM and the university, recognizing the quality of graduates from this specialized school. In fact, we receive the highest number of students from this Center. From the school’s point of view, we will make our facilities available to their students and teachers. For example, if they want to do a project using any of our laboratories, they will have open doors to do so without any further procedures than simply coordinating it. If there are research projects at the university, we could find a way to include them before they graduate from high school. Similarly, the courses we offer at the Mayagüez campus will be available for them to take and graduate from high school with approved university courses. These interactions provide students and teachers at CROEM with access to the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez,” explained Dr. Agustín Rullán Toro, UPRM’s Chancellor.
He added that TPP students will now be able to complete their hours at the mentioned educational center.
“It’s fabulous because we have many engineering and science programs at the university. So students who take the Teacher Preparation Program courses can have a dual path: they finish with a bachelor’s degree in their concentration but also with the courses to become certified teachers. Now this opportunity opens up for them to do their internship at CROEM,” said Dr. Santiago Méndez, TPP’s director.
Meanwhile, Eliezer Ramos Parés, Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Education, also signed the agreement during a ceremony held at CROEM.
“The University of Puerto Rico has a long and historic relationship with this institution. I summarize this agreement in three very specific areas: first, what it means for our teachers to have access to professionals from the University of Puerto Rico, who are at the forefront of research and in search of new answers; second, that they also use the school as a laboratory, so that aspiring teachers can come and practice here together with our educators; and third, it provides new experiences for students to explore careers and subjects, as well as to have an education that transcends the walls of the school,” affirmed the Secretary.
The collaboration agreement between both institutions has been in place for over three decades. “The university has always been a cornerstone for the development of our students in tutoring, counseling, and research, among other areas. Our students have very high goals, and thanks to the collaboration of the University, especially in scientific fairs, we have been able to receive first prizes and represent Puerto Rico internationally,” stated Milton Tomassini, the director of CROEM.
The General Student Council (CGE) of the University served as a link to reactivate this collaborative alliance.
“I want to recognize that we achieved this thanks to the management of the student governance body at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. We have some young people who are now on the Council who come from this school, and they thought it was important, knowing that this agreement had been signed so long ago, to renew it. They approached us and were the catalyst that allowed the signing of this agreement today,” indicated the Chancellor.
Daniel Fernández González, President of the CGE, highlighted that the initiative will facilitate academic efforts between the two educational centers.
“Once we started this academic semester, I met with Tomassini, the school’s director, and with Chancellor Agustín Rullán Toro, who was delighted with the initiative to formally convert CROEM into the high school of the Mayagüez University Campus. This project resembles something similar to what happens at the UPR’s Rio Piedras Campus with the UHS (University High School). On a larger scale, the importance of this agreement is tremendous, as I am a former student of this educational institution and currently a student at UPRM. So, this news was very welcome for me,” expressed the young person.
Disclosure: The author is an alumni of CROEM.