Left to Right: Dr. Jessie Guinn, Jr., Assistant Dean of STEM, College of Global Studies, Arcadia University; Kelly Lampe, Associate Director of the College of Global Studies, Arcadia University; Sarah Pauling, CGIS Senior Intercultural Program Advisor; Dr. Michael Jordan, CGIS Director; Cassidy Bouse-Eaton, Animal Medicine in London, England; Claire Drebin, Computer Science in Dublin, Ireland; James Seiner, Physics in Glasgow, Scotland; Padip Bolina, CGIS Associate Director.
"[Science] is more than a school subject, or the periodic table, or the properties of waves. It is an approach to the world, a critical way to understand and explore and engage with the world, and then have the capacity to change that world..."
— President Barack Obama, March 23, 2015
For the very first time, the Center for Global & Intercultural Study(CGIS) and The College of Global Studies at Arcadia University hosted the 2017 Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) Summer Research Abroad Symposium to showcase research that was conducted by students who participated in STEM Summer Research programs abroad this previous summer.
“Being partnered with CGIS is a sign of our shared value of serving students,” Arcadia Assistant Academic Dean of STEM, Dr. Jessie Guinn, Jr. said. “Both CGIS and Arcadia are entities that are committed to connecting students to international opportunities in order to further their academic achievement and personal development as young scholars.”
This past summer, CGIS sent 16 students on STEM research programs in majors ranging from psychology and computer science to nursing, neuroscience, and physics. Students were able to conduct their research at local universities including: University College Dublin, University of Glasgow, Andalusian Center for Environmental Research in Granada, and Royal Veterinary College in London.
According to Guinn, studying STEM abroad connects students to the Global STEM Academy in such a way that they cannot be on their home campus. It enables students to personally interact and collaborate in courses, laboratories, and on research projects that will lead to elevating their academic profile. CGIS Senior Intercultural Advisor Sarah Pauling said the experience allows students to become more adaptable and quick on their feet, absorbing the viewpoints of cultures different from their own--both in terms of nationality and campus/research culture.
“Students studying STEM abroad are able to combine their passion for a project with their desire to immerse themselves in new perspectives both in- and outside of their field,” Pauling said. “Beyond looking stellar on a resume or grad school application, a research experience abroad provides a dimension of interpersonal development that is hard to replicate on a campus at home.”
Three University of Michigan students, Cassidy Bouse-Eaton, Claire Drebin, and James Seiner who all participated in STEM programs not only presented on their summer research at the Symposium, but were awarded the International STEM Research Achievement Award through the College of Global Studies at Arcadia University for their outstanding performance on their programs. Bouse-Eaton conducted research on long and short-term walking activity prior to lameness in dairy cows in London, England; Drebin collected data to create a beer recommendation phone application in Dublin, Ireland; and Seiner focused on cosmological implications of a new theory of gravity in Glasgow, Scotland.
“Studying STEM abroad gave me the opportunity to work with students and faculty from all over the world from a diverse range of backgrounds. It challenged me to step out of my comfort zone in an academic and social setting, which allowed me to grow as both a scholar and an individual,” Drebin said. “ It allows students to be on the cutting edge of innovation in a way that produces a direct impact on the world. It is an intellectually challenging field that is constantly changing and growing. While it is very easy to focus your work in a very narrow range, taking opportunities such as doing research abroad provides the unique opportunity to broaden your understanding of your field and your capabilities as a scholar.
Besides giving former students an opportunity to present on their findings, the symposium also provided prospective students a chance to hear directly from their peers about how the individual programs helped them grow as young scholars and scientists.
“Hearing this sort of information along with the cultural and recreational activities available made it clear the importance of balance and the value of experiential learning even in research-intensive programs,” Guinn said. “Prospective students in attendance could see that such an experience is possible and is greatly beneficial to them as STEM majors.”
According to Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education, Dr. Dorine Lawrence-Hughes, the University of Michigan places great value on the Study Abroad experience. STEM-related study abroad experiences are especially valuable when one considers that problems once thought to be local can have global implications.
“Opportunities created by CGIS which allow students to participate in STEM-focused study abroad experiences constitute evidence that we at the University of Michigan are intentional about our efforts to help students engage in research with a more global consciousness,” Lawrence-Hughes said. “It is with this global consciousness that our students, and the University of Michigan, can better contribute to our increasingly diverse and complex world.”
CGIS currently provides STEM Summer Research programs in London, England; Glasgow, Scotland; Granada, Spain; Dublin, Ireland; and the newest addition in Brisbane, Australia partnered with Arcadia University. For early consideration, students should apply on M-Compass by December 1, 2017. Projects for 2018 are being released through the month of November and according to Pauling, students should look through the projects list so that they can have a project in mind at the time of application. Final deadline to apply for the STEM Summer Research programs is January 15, 2018.
“When I got to college I wasn't sure that I would be able to study abroad. Leaving for an entire semester just didn't seem like a viable option for me, but that's why I was really intrigued by the summer program. I wasn't sure they would take someone with as little experience as I had, and I was intimidated by some of the projects available,” Drebin said. “When I got to University College Dublin and met my supervisor, he was really interested in making sure that I got the most out of my time there, and he tailored the project to fit my skills and interests while still allowing me to contribute a significant amount to their research and push me as a computer scientist. The people I met while abroad were some of the most driven, fun, and hardworking individuals I have ever met, though we all came from a diverse range of fields and backgrounds, we all shared a passion for innovation. They made my experience abroad that much more rewarding."