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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

UC San Diego Partners With 13 Mexican Universities And High Schools

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Students attend binational conference at UC San Diego, June 9, 2017.

UC San Diego said Friday it is launching the Cali-Baja Education Consortium to make it easier for students to study on both sides of the border.

UC San Diego is partnering with 13 universities and high schools in Baja California to boost competitiveness in cross-border industries like aerospace and biomedical devices and make it easier for students to learn on both sides of the border.

The CaliBaja Education Consortium will include collaboration on scientific research and education. Faculty will work together to design curriculum so American and Mexican students can get credit for taking classes on either side of the border.

“We don’t see a border, we don’t see a wall, we just want to collaborate on both sides of the border and we want students to think of this region as a binational region," said Olivia Graeve, a mechanical engineering professor at UC San Diego who is leading the consortium.

Graeve said the consortium takes advantage of specialized skills on both sides of the border to make the California and Baja California region more productive.

Camilia Garibi, a 19-year-old Tijuana resident, graduated from a high school in Mexico called Colegio La Paz, one of the institutions in the consortium.

She said Mexican students bring unique strengths to U.S. institutions because many of them have grown up in low-income neighborhoods where resources are scarce and innovative solutions are necessary for survival.

"We tend to think more creatively, and do as much as we can with the little resources we have," she said.

Undergraduate students can participate in the CaliBaja Education Consortium through their universities, enrolling in specific courses and conducting research. Meanwhile, graduate students can participate through their research groups. High school students can get involved through an existing summer research program called Enlace.

The San Diego-Tijuana is the world’s largest manufacturing hub for medical devices because of integrated cross-border supply chains, according to the mayors of both cities.

The consortium formalizes and expands an existing partnership between UC San Diego and three Mexican institutions, which are part of the new consortium.

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