Doctoral student earns awards for organizing 'Dialogo on the Border'

Learn more about 2013’s [Dialogo on the Border] ( , which was co-sponsored by the College of Architecture’s Diversity Council.

Edna Ledesma, a doctoral student in the Urban and Regional Sciences program at Texas A&M, earned two awards at a state planning conference for her role organizing [Dialogo on the Border] ( , an April 2013 conference in Brownsville, Texas at which participants identified critical planning issues affecting Latino communities in U.S. border regions.

For the effort, she earned student project awards from the Texas and Central Texas chapters of the American Planning Association, which were presented last October at the state APA conference in Frisco.

Ledesma was cited for recruiting a distinguished group of speakers and panelists for the conference from several disciplines, including architecture, construction science, engineering and communications. “They all had varying degrees of association and connections to the area and the planning and development process,” she said.

She also coordinated a small army of student volunteers from the University of Texas at Brownsville, Texas Southmost College and Brownsville high schools. The volunteers staffed registration tables at the Dialogo event, helped visitors find their way around Brownsville and performed many other tasks that kept the conference running smoothly.

“The award is also a tribute to these volunteers’ work and the value of academic engagement outside the classroom setting,” said Cecilia Giusti, the college’s associate dean of outreach and diversity and associate professor of urban planning who served as chairwoman for the Brownsville event.

The conference was tailored for those who aim to improve living conditions in border areas, including planners, community and political leaders, law enforcement personnel, academics, and representatives from charitable organizations.

It was co-sponsored by a multidisciplinary partnership of Texas A&M entities that included the College of Architecture’s Diversity Council, the [Dwight Look College of Engineering,] ( the map and geographic information system [library] ( at Evans Library and the [Texas Sea Grant] ( .

posted November 10, 2014