STEM Students Study Abroad for Social Good

“STEM Students Study Abroad for Social Good”

by David F. Fougere via “3P

Engineering majors study abroad in United Arab Emirates.

 

This graduation season, while enjoying the commencement speeches full of inspirational words for students heading out into the world, ready to make it a better place, let’s consider this heartening fact: There’s a good chance they’ll make good on their promises. Forty percent of bachelor’s degrees earned by men and 29 percent earned by women are now in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), according to the National Student Clearinghouse. These are the innovators – the engineers, scientists and researchers – who will solve the world’s problems and lead us into the future.

Hard sciences as curricula for triple-bottom-line career paths? Absolutely.

At its highest level, the STEM philosophy is about improving quality of life and the health of the planet. This is a mantle that’s perfect for Generation Z, a cohort encompassing today’s high school and college students that is increasingly passionate about the needs of the developing world. With STEM degrees in hand, these soon-to-be professionals hold the knowledge and technologies needed to solve real-world problems and improve standards of living — not just in the United States, but also around the world.

More than 7 billion people around the world rely on STEM to solve rapidly increasing problems related to climate change, contamination, and food and water shortages. Combating these global issues requires the ability to see from multiple perspectives and the skills to bridge cultural divides.

As early as grade school, students are learning about the international nature of STEM efforts, from global warming to sustainability, and about the destinations far beyond U.S. borders that are leading the way. Take renewable energy: Denmark leads in wind power, Iceland in geothermal energy, Germany in sustainable architecture, Japan in solar, Costa Rica in hydroelectric power, Africa in rural water management and irrigation – the list goes on and on.

What it all comes down to is the fact that, to be cutting-edge or even just competitive, STEM works best with an international understanding of research and how to apply technologies and ideas within a cultural framework to make them most effective.

Increasingly, college and high school students are discovering that the best way to gain this critical international understanding while honing their skills in their chosen field is to combine their STEM curriculum with study abroad.

Take a look at a few examples. STEM students today can study conservation and marine biology in the island nation of Bonaire, home to one of the Earth’s most diverse and pristine marine habitats. But make no mistake; this is no beach vacation. Students on a tropical marine ecology and conservation program go on 35 scientific dives as part of their coursework. They collaborate on research projects with the Bonaire National Marine Park and other institutions, then present their findings to the public. Students even submit their findings to the student scientific journal, Physis: Journal of Marine Science. All this while immersing themselves in the local culture and deepening their appreciation for the impact their work can have.

Alternatively, engineering students might opt to spend a semester in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Home to incredible engineering feats, like the Burj Khalifa (the tallest tower in the world) and Palm Jumeirah (a man-made, palm tree-shaped archipelago), the UAE is the perfect place to learn about engineering, the Arab world and the global economy. There, students refine their Arabic language skills, and witness the daily intersection of traditional values and modern realities firsthand. They also go on excursions that illuminate their understanding of the region, alter their perspective of the world and match experiential learning with coursework. . . . .

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China Study Abroad Program

“China Study Abroad Program”

by Nancy Luedke via “ATM

2014 China Study 4

From May 16-31, 11 Texas A&M University petroleum engineering students attended a study abroad program in China. The course, taught by professors Ding Zhu, Rashid Hasan and Jiajing Lin, is PETE 325, Petroleum Production Systems, and is an introduction to production operations and oil field equipment.

This was a two-week program. The first week, the students went to China Petroleum University to study production operations such as: multiphase flow in pipes, bottomhole pressure prediction, inflow and outflow performance, production systems and backpressure analysis, hydraulic fracturing fluids and equipment; downhole and artificial lift equipment, tubulars, workover, completion and procedures; produced fluids, fluid separation and metering, safety systems, pressure boosting and monitoring. The second week, the students went to Dagang Oilfield. During the oilfield trip, the students visited a rod pump, completion, and workover facility.

2014 China Study 3

The students were given the opportunity to visit three places in Beijing: the Great Wall, the Forbidden City Chinese History Museum, and the Olympic Village. While staying in housing at the China Petroleum University, several Chinese students attended the class, giving the Texas A&M students the opportunity for cross-cultural exchanges and new friendships.

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Studying Abroad can be Difficult for CSE Students

Studying Abroad can be Difficult for CSE Students

by Katelyn Faulks via “Minnesota Daily

 

 

“For Ahmed Zaher, studying abroad would delay his graduation a full year. The mechanical engineering junior said he needs to stay on track.  “For my schedule, it’s difficult, because I have to graduate in four years,” he said. “If I take less than 12 credits, I can’t finish.” For University of Minnesota students in the sciences, studying abroad can be an extra challenge to fit . . . . “