FEATURED: A planned Collegiate High School in Edinburg, reportedly estimated to cost more than $20 million, may be among the top education priorities to be featured at the Region One Service Center on Tuesday, August 9, 2022, during a “State of Our Education” Public Affairs Luncheon, which will be hosted by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Panelists include Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, Dr. Guy Bailey, President, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Dr. Mario H. Salinas, Superintendent, Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District.
Graphics By NAYELI ZENTENO
Upcoming education priorities to be presented by Sen. Hinojosa, UTRGV President Bailey, and ECISD Superintendent Salinas, during luncheon on Tuesday, August 9, to be hosted by Edinburg Chamber of Commerce
A planned Collegiate High School in Edinburg, reportedly estimated to cost more than $20 million, may be among the top education priorities to be featured at the Region One Service Center on Tuesday, August 9, 2022, during a “State of Our Education” Public Affairs Luncheon, which will be hosted by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce.
The Region One Education Service Center is located at 1900 W. Schunior Street in Edinburg.
The Public Affairs Luncheon is an initiative introduced by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce in 2006, and since then those events have have highlighted popular topics with keynote speakers who cover important community and legislative issues.
The Public Affairs Luncheon also allows business professionals to meet, network and create opportunities for the companies they represent.
Tickets for the “State of Our Education” Public Affairs Luncheon – which will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. – are available for purchase from the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce.
For members of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, individual tickets are $40 apiece or $350 for a table of eight. For nonmembers of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, individual tickets are $50 apiece, or $400 for a table of eight.
Sponsorships for the event are also available through the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, with deadlines for ticket purchases and sponsorships both set for 5 p.m. on Friday, August 5, 2022.
More information is available through the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956/383-4974 of by email at:
“The luncheon’s topic will be the ‘State of Our Education’, where attendees will learn about the advancements and challenges facing Edinburg’s educational institutions,” said Ronnie Larralde, Executive Director, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. “Featured panelists include State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen), Dr. Guy Bailey, President, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Dr. Mario H. Salinas, Superintendent, Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District.”
Hinojosa is a member of the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans, which will be developing legislation and state policies for action during the upcoming 88th Texas Legislature, which begins its 140-day regular session in early January 2023.
The committee is focusing on the following issues:
• School safety;
• Mental health;
• Social media;
• Police training; and
• Firearm safety.
The panel discussion will be moderated by former Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen, now the Vice President, Government and Community Relations, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Regarding the planned Collegiate High School for Edinburg and for McAllen, the following information was released by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday, March 23, 2022:
Two Rio Grande Valley school districts on Wednesday, March 23, 2022 signed Memorandums of Understanding with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in support of the development and implementation of Collegiate High Schools.
A Memorandum of Understanding is an agreement between two or more parties outlined in a formal document. It is not legally binding but signals the willingness of the parties to move forward with a contract.
The Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District and the McAllen Independent School District made the commitment to provide their students additional opportunities to pursue college credit during high school, in separate signing ceremonies on Wednesday, March 23, 2022 in Edinburg and McAllen
“The leaders at the Edinburg and McAllen school districts know how important it is for students to succeed,” said Bailey. “The access to higher education these partnerships with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will provide is paramount, starting with our youngest students and supporting them through the university.
“Our students are indeed our future, so we want to be sure our Valley students are well prepared and have every opportunity to get the jobs they dream of,” Bailey continued.
The Collegiate High Schools will offer a traditional high school curriculum, with special emphasis on Dual-Credit Educational Programs, as well as postsecondary higher-education programs, for undergraduate or higher courses of study to be provided by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Academic programming will be specific to each school district’s students and will include pathways in the areas of education, engineering, computer science and health professions.
“This partnership is going to change lives and provide opportunities for students in a historic way that has not been possible before,” said Salinas. “By participating in this program, our students will not only be able to obtain college credit during high school, but they also will have access to the highest-quality educational opportunities because of this extraordinary collaboration.
“The Collegiate High School will provide a rigorous and enriched educational experience to Edinburg public school students in the areas of education, computer science, engineering, and health professions. We want our students to have every opportunity available to them so they can thrive at the university level, and then in the workforce when they graduate,” Salinas noted.
The goal of the Collegiate High Schools is to provide dynamic educational opportunities that will enrich the academic experience for students and facilitate a more seamless transition from high school to postsecondary education.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley along with the Edinburg and McAllen school district are , committed to building new facilities to house the Collegiate High Schools, given the many students who will benefit from the partnerships. As the projects develop, locations for the new campuses will be determined, according to university officials and the leaders of both school districts.
“We have multiple options for students to earn college credit, but this partnership is a game changer in that our students who choose this program will now be taking courses on a university campus, using world-class resources,” said Dr. J.A. González, Superintendent, McAllen Independent School District. “In short, they will begin constructing a successful future at no cost to their family.”
In November 2021, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District and the City of Harlingen celebrated the opening of the UTRGV Harlingen Collegiate High, a dual enrollment school that specializes in career tracks for computer science, engineering and teacher preparation.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley-Harlingen Collegiate High offers bachelor’s degree programs that focus on academic core curriculum requirements, engineering, computer science and education.
Students can earn up to 60 hours of college credit by the time they graduate high school.
ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS RIO GRANDE VALLEY
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.
Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston help develop second-generation COVID-19 vaccine taken nasally
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and the Catholic University of America have developed a possible needle-free COVID-19 vaccine delivered through the nose, university officials announced on Thursday, July 28, 2022.
As scientists race to create the next generation of COVID-19 vaccines, their research in mice adds new possibilities for fighting the disease in humans in the future.
Nasal vaccination creates another type of an immune response which can effectively kill the pathogen at the port of entry, which is the respiratory tract for SARS-CoV-2.
A pathogen is a bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can causes disease.
No injections are needed, and the vaccine can be delivered in a nasal spray.
Dr. Ashok Chopra, a microbiology and immunology professor and the John S. Dunn Distinguished Chair in Global Health as well as a senior scientist at Sealy Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and Dr. Venigalla Rao, a biology professor and Director of Bacteriophage Medical Research Center at Catholic University of America, were the lead scientists on the study published July 28 in mBio, an American Society for Microbiology journal.
Existing COVID-19 vaccines are injected into muscle tissue in two or more doses.
They are effective in preventing COVID-19, but they do not bring about efficient immunity in the mucous lining or prevent viral transmission.
This nasal vaccine showed advantages in this study.
“The nasal vaccine does not seem to affect the gut microbiota and is more potent in generating systemic and mucosal immune responses than when the vaccine is injected into the muscle of mice,” Chopra said.
The gut microbiota is a vast and complex collection of microorganisms that profoundly affects human health. Previously, people referred to the gut microbiota as microflora of the gut. The gut microbiota assists in a range of bodily functions, including:
• Harvesting energy from digested food;
• Protecting against pathogens;
• Regulating immune function; and
• Strengthening biochemical barriers of the gut and intestine.
Changes in microbiota composition can affect these functions.
Researchers studied the effects of this vaccine in mice, specifically the one which bears the human receptor ACE2 to which SARS-CoV-2 — which causes COVID-19 — binds.
“Second generation COVID-19 vaccines are needed that are built using an entirely different platform compared to the current FDA-approved vaccines,” Rao said. “This is needed because it could help in preventing infections of vaccinated humans and also prevent infected populations shedding the virus.”
The platform used for this study is a virus-like nanoparticle — bacteriophage T4.
This platform can be adapted to generate vaccines to any emerging epidemic or pandemic pathogen.
An epidemic is the rapid spread of disease to a large number of patients among a given population within an area in a short period of time.
A pandemic is an epidemic of an infectious disease that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents or worldwide, affecting a substantial number of individuals.
The research shows this vaccine is stable and has many advantages in combating the disease, but future research is needed on other animal models and would also require human trials.
“These efforts are underway and crucial since more than 10 billion doses of vaccines are needed across the globe, particularly in middle- to low-income countries, where the affordability of the current vaccines is a big concern,” Chopra said.
Nayeli Zenteno and Amanda Taylor-Uchoa contributed to this article. For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories that affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).