Industrial and systems engineering students gain cross-cultural, practical experience in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Trip_group_2015(1)Students in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISEN) at Texas A&M University recently returned from a college-sponsored trip to Puerto Rico. On this trip, students experienced industrial and systems engineering in the context of another culture.

A total of 27 ISEN students participated in the trip and studied at the University of Puerto Rico — Mayagüez (UPRM). Many students enrolled in engineering economics and robotics classes and some participated in Research Experiences for Undergraduates projects.

The knowledge students gained in the classroom was reinforced with visits to local manufacturing facilities. Students were able to see firsthand the operations of Amphenol Sensors, Edward Lifesciences and the Compañía Cervecera de Puerto Rico brewery.

“What we saw in class, we got to apply at the professional level, and the classes reinforced the processes that we saw in the plants,” said Carlos Fortin-Yacub, an ISEN junior.

 Not only did the trip offer valuable classroom and real-world experience, it gave students the opportunity to learn about Puerto Rico and it’s culture. The students visited the Arecibo Observatory, UPRM Department of Marine Sciences, and Cueva Ventana, or Window Cave. 

“Even though it is part of the United States, Puerto Rico is different in many ways,” said Katherine Young, an ISEN senior.

The trip also forged lasting connections among the students. 

“I liked the bonding,” said Fortin-Yacub. “I only knew a few people in the beginning, but by the end of the trip, I was friends with all the other students.”

“The trip to Puerto Rico is a unique and valuable experience,” said Jeana Goodson, senior academic adviser, “It’s a great opportunity for students to learn while still enjoying themselves and getting to know each other.”

The trip to Puerto Rico is offered each Summer I session and lasts four weeks. For more information, see ISEN’s webpage on the trip.