June 14, 2014
June 14, 2014
June 14, 2014
20.30.1 - 20.30.9
Preparing Engineers for Global Challenges: Engaging with Chile through the 100,000 Strong in the Americas InitiativeOur five-year dual-degree program prepares engineers for the future by equipping them with thelanguage, attitudes and skills necessary for success in a world that is evermore interconnectedand interdependent. Students earn a BS in an engineering discipline and a BA in Chinese,French, German, Italian or Spanish. International experiences are a core component of thecurriculum: all of our students spend twelve months abroad during their fourth year, studyingengineering and math coursework for one semester at a partner university, and then completing aprofessional engineering internship at a company or research institute in our program’s network.In addition to these mandatory international experiences, we offer optional short and long-terminternational opportunities, such as research projects, service-learning experiences and intensivelanguage courses, so that students may spend even more time abroad perfecting a variety of skillsthat are essential for today’s global engineer.In this paper we discuss a new international initiative that we designed and that led to theselection of our institution as one of the universities inaugurating President Obama’s 100,000Strong in the Americas program. This presidential initiative aims to foster throughout ourhemisphere greater intercultural understanding and prosperity through increased opportunities ininternational education between the United States and Latin America. The ultimate goal of theseefforts is to better prepare people throughout our hemisphere to address important challenges,including “citizen security, economic opportunity, social inclusion, and environmentalsustainability” (http://100kstrongamericas.org/about.html).The student development activities that we have devised are all immersion experiences indifferent ways. While some focus on learning through coursework in a classroom setting, mosthave a far more practical focus, taking place outside of the walls of the traditional classroom andcreating opportunities for students to engage with their fields of study in the real world. Someactivities are designed for advanced students as a way to provide them with the chance todemonstrate the knowledge and competencies that they have acquired and develop them further,while also acquiring and refining other equally important skills. Other activities focus on theunique, and too often missed, opportunities to immerse younger students in meaningful fieldexperiences. Still other activities emphasize professional development and networking skills forstudents, by empowering them to participate directly in dissemination activities about our work.In our paper we describe the activities that we have designed, the hurdles that we have faced aswe have begun implementing them and the ways through which we have successfully overcomevarious challenges. We link our activities to the competencies that we project participants willdevelop and how these competencies relate directly to the goals of the 100,000 Strong in theAmericas initiative. By creating short- as well as long-term immersion opportunities for studentsat different junctures of their studies from both countries, our activities create synchronizedstages of educating global engineers of the future, people who are technically skilled, and at thesame time cross-culturally savvy, proficient in more than one language, and keenly aware of howtheir work can impact major social, political and economic challenges.
Echevarria, M. M., & Berka, S. (2014, June), Preparing Engineers for Global Challenges: Engaging with Chile through the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Initiative Paper presented at 2014 ASEE International Forum, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/17193
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