Doctoral student Christian Vazquez is a member of the team that won the 2019-20 President’s Award for Global Learning for Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean region.

The team’s project “A Bittersweet Burden: Understanding Causes and Consequences of Diabetes Complications Using Design-Thinking in Puebla, Mexico,” aims to study patients in Puebla, who are hospitalized with preventable, acute complications of diabetes in order to identify both medical and sociocultural systems gaps in diabetes care and to generate insights on potential points of intervention.

The award is the signature program of the International Board of Advisors, a select group of influencers who, together with UT President Gregory L. Fenves and senior leadership of The University of Texas at Austin, are working to expand UT’s global network.

Through a competitive process, teams of students and faculty mentors are selected to pursue interdisciplinary projects relating to international research, social impact and entrepreneurship in regions throughout the world. The teams work with international partner organizations, traveling together to implement their projects and gain hands-on experience.

“We are grateful to all the teams who submitted a proposal for the 2019-20 President’s Award for Global Learning competition, and we extend a heartfelt congratulations to this year’s awardees,” said Sonia Feigenbaum, senior vice provost for global engagement. “This is a transformational program that advances the university’s internationalization efforts by bringing together teams of students and faculty committed to addressing global challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective. Their commitment to transnational collaboration and to gaining a deeper understanding of themselves, as well as cultures around the globe, is inspiring.”

There were 24 proposals submitted from teams composed of 97 students representing 11 colleges and 55 faculty members representing 12 colleges. A committee of faculty members from colleges and schools across campus reviewed the submitted proposals and selected 11 finalist teams.

The finalist teams participated in a pitch competition hosted by a panel of judges selected by President Fenves. From the 11 finalist teams, five winning teams were selected. The final awardees will receive up to $25,000 toward project implementation costs, as well as additional travel and academic financial support.

Vazquez is the graduate student member of the winning team for Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean region, which also includes students Harrison Mark (College of Natural Sciences), Kanishka Mitra (Cockrell School of Engineering), Kathryn Quan (College of Natural Sciences), Joyce Tiong (College of natural Sciences); and faculty members Jacqueline Angel (LBJ School of Public Affairs), Dr. Meghana Gadgil (Dell Medical School), Meeta Kothare (McCombs School of Business).