CIEE Partners with Spelman College and Northeastern University to Launch Custom Study Abroad Programs for Undergrads in STEM Disciplines
CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange has partnered with Spelman College, a global leader in the education of women of African descent, and Northeastern University, a global, experiential, research university in Boston, to offer custom study abroad programs this spring with the goal to increase international education opportunities for students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
For a second year, CIEE has partnered with Spelman College to support their Going Global initiative, which seeks to provide every student with an international travel experience before graduation. For two weeks, May 10-24, 161 Spelman students are taking part in an immersive program with a customized intercultural engagement curriculum to enhance intercultural competencies and leadership skills in one of six locations: Amsterdam, Netherlands; Barcelona, Spain; Seoul, South Korea; Lima, Peru; Lisbon, Portugal; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Forty-five of the students participating in the program are STEM majors, a 137 percent increase in participation from the previous year.
“Our deliberate efforts to address the major barriers to international travel experience – cost, culture, curriculum, and champions – have yielded much fruition by providing global travel opportunities for a group that is traditionally underrepresented in study abroad,” said Dimeji Togunde, Ph.D., associate provost for global education at Spelman College. “This program has become the most effective strategy for us to achieve both Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and strategic planning goals of yearly increase in student and faculty international travel experiences.”
CIEE is also supporting a customized program for 23 Northeastern University students in Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 12-June 11. Designed specifically for students in STEM majors and those with an interest in sustainability, the Northeastern program will help students build an understanding of how energy resources are being utilized in the U.S. and Brazil, current alternative energy systems and technologies, and how these alternatives can impact the environment through fieldwork activities and meetings with industry leaders.
“There is a huge need for students to understand the necessity of sustainable development, especially in developing countries that are ahead of the U.S. in this effort,” said Courtney Pfluger, Ph.D., assistant teaching professor of engineering at Northeastern who will lead the students on the four-week program. “Students who become globally competent will be the leaders in shaping our world and realizing the potential in bettering our environment and society.”
A growing segment in study abroad, STEM students today make up nearly 23 percent of U.S. students studying abroad, representing a significant increase over the past 10 years according to Open Doors Data. “CIEE has seen increased interest in STEM programs from both students and faculty and administrators at institutions across the country,” said CIEE President and Chief Executive Officer James P. Pellow. “Colleges and universities like Spelman College and Northeastern University are recognizing the importance of providing access to international experiences for all students. Spelman and Northeastern have both seen the positive impact of creating custom programs built to professors’ curricula and students’ academic requirements and schedules.”
CIEE offers 29 semester, summer, and winter study abroad programs focused on STEM disciplines, including tropical marine ecology and conservation, and engineering. The organization recently introduced a new Global Sustainability and Environment program on three continents: Shanghai, China; Berlin, Germany; and Cape Town, South Africa.