Puentes Consortium program provides undergrads with research experience

The Rice group at Puentes Consortium

Five Rice University students traveled to Mexico this summer to undertake the third annual Undergraduate Research Experience – an initiative presented by the Puentes Consortium, which consists of five universities and is housed in Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Students from Rice, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Universidad de Monterrey, Universidad de las Américas Puebla and the University of Miami participated in one full week of classes on research methodologies, hands-on workshops, mentoring sessions and presentations from visiting speakers. This year’s program was hosted in Monterrey, Mexico.

The program gives students the opportunity to participate in research while being advised and mentored by an international and interdisciplinary team of faculty. The undergraduates are also able to make meaningful connections with the other students and compare education, political parties, agendas and life experiences, according to Baker College student Diego Hinojosa '25.

The Rice group of Puentes Consortium

“The Puentes Consortium was an invaluable experience that helped provide a deep and intricate understanding of the bilateral relations between the United States and Mexico,” he said.

The workshops given by the experts from the different institutions led to engaging discussions between the students. And, given the diversity and differences in points of view, there were very intensive discussions with the other university students.

“I would say my favorite part of the experience was the dinners with different speakers that came from different governmental positions in both the U.S. and Mexico,” Hinojosa said. “I hope the project I make satiates my hunger for more social science research.”

The participating students will finish their research at their home institutions this fall where they will receive academic credits and potentially have their papers submitted to scientific journals.

“This program is significant to my career as it has provided me with a critical, problem-solving approach to economic research,” said Hanszen College student Sanjana Jain '26. “For my research project, I am exploring the impact of American renewable energy investment in Mexico under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration. This fall, my partner and I will conduct in-depth qualitative and quantitative analysis to produce a comprehensive research paper.”

To learn more about the Puentes Consortium, visit here.