Here’s the latest on grant-winning university teams supported by Fundación Banorte, led by Banorte Chairman Carlos Hank González, Fundación Gruma and the U.S. Department of State as part of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund.

The fund encourages higher education institutions to adopt new models of academic exchange and workforce development programs throughout the Americas. These cross-cultural research teams are seeking to broaden technical skills, solve real-world problems and stimulate economic prosperity.

Partners: California State University, Fresno, and Universidad Panamericana, Campus Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Project: Advance higher education in the field of agricultural sustainability and rural economic development.  

Their mission: Educate students through hands on experiences, showcase economic opportunities, increase professional networks and expand institutional collaborations.

What’s new:  Fresno State and Universidad Panamericana hosted an exchange program for students in both countries in June 2022, spending one week at each university. Twelve students and two faculty members explored the supply chain of the dairy industry,  visiting private industry facilities, participating in lectures and taking in other experiences. 

The students’ projects compared the complete production chain of dairy in both countries: milking, milk quality, food safety, processing and technology, food chemistry, sensory analysis and marketing. 

“The project was successful as all the students expressed their satisfaction and fulfillment of learning objectives” said Carmen Licon, assistant professor at Fresno State department of food science and nutrition.

During the exchang

e program students visited Leprino Foods in Lemoore, California, and San Jacinto in Aguascalientes, Mexico, where they made their own cheese and learned about different cheese varieties in the U.S. and Mexico. Students from both universities developed a new dairy product to advance agricultural sustainability and rural economic development.

After the exchange program, Licon noted that students embraced the cultural differences of their fellow students and adapted quickly to new environments.

What’s next: Fresno State and Universidad Panamericana will continue to create exchange program experiences, internship opportunities and research collaborations.

For more: Since its inception in 2014 through the end of 2020, the Innovation Fund has awarded 243 grants ($25,000 to $35,000 each) to more than 490 universities and institutions, working in teams in 25 countries and in 49 U.S. states. See