June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
Diversity and International Forum
19.30.1 - 19.30.19
Starting Points for Involving Underrepresented Graduate Students in International Engagement: A Case Study on the Collaborations Between the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and Educational Institutions in Latin AmericaGraduate students in engineering and IT do not have many chances to participate in study abroadopportunities, and those who do, may do so as individuals based on their graduate advisor’scollaborations. In this globalized world of technological advances, developing internationalcollaborations between scholars within the STEM fields is not only beneficial; it is essential, thusopportunities should not be limited to a select few. The National Academy of Engineering hasdeveloped a list of Grand Challenges, and there is growing concern that there won’t be aninternational workforce with enough training to develop solutions for real-world issues. Despiteinvolvement of some graduate students in international research, there remain subsets ofgraduate students from underrepresented minority (URM) groups who have neither beenencouraged nor invited to participate in international projects. “Graduate Education for GlobalCareer Pathways” (Council of Graduate Schools, 2013) encouraged graduate students toparticipate in global conferences as means to engage, and serves as the premise for our strategyto broaden participation of URM graduate students in international projects. The GraduateSchool at UMBC and the National Science Foundation’s PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance forGraduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program have started to develop cohorts ofstudents and faculty who travel to international conferences and report on their experiences.Cohort travel models are not unique in undergraduate circles; however, for our group ofparticipants, the model serves as a pathway to broaden the participation of STEM-trained womenand minorities in international engagement. The model includes immersing the cohort into aculture through participation in an international conference, presentations at a host university todevelop collaborations with faculty and students, scientific excursions, discussion sessionsaddressing research questions, and plans for building on the short-term experience. This modelstarted in 2012 with a graduate student presentation at the Latin and Caribbean Consortium ofEngineering Institutions (LACCEI) conference in Panama. In 2013, participation in LACCEI inMexico increased to two graduate students, a postdoctoral fellow, and an alumnus who is amember of the faculty at another institution. By 2014, a group of 15 participated in LACCEI inGuayaquil, Ecuador. Plans for 2015 include travel to the Dominican Republic, and affiliationswith Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico. Given graduate students’ 12-month continuousresearch and laboratory responsibilities, the short-term experience provided a sound introduction.Participants were part of the PROMISE AGEP, Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority ParticipationBridges to the Doctorate program, and the UMBC/Puerto Rico ADVANCE Hispanic Women inSTEM program. Many of the participants had little to no experience abroad. The 2014 tripincluded collaborations with the CEDEI - Centro de Estudios Interamericanos in Cuenca,Ecuador for acclimation to the region, graduate student mentoring, and a presentation at the ForoLatinoamericano de Estudiantes sobre Educacion en Ingenieria conference at the EscuelaSuperior Politecnica del Litoral (ESPOL) for engineering students throughout Ecuador. Studentsfrom the U.S. and Latin American universities discussed the academic models of each country,career/life balance, development of cultural competence, and plans to engage in internationalresearch collaborations. This paper will present the model and the social science results fromquestions posed before, during, and after the trip which addressed barriers to entry such as thechallenges of family and language, and the rewards associated with international collaborations.
Tull, R. G., & Cortes-Rodriguez, M. N. (2015, June), Starting Points for Involving Underrepresented Graduate Students in International Engagement: A Case Study on the Collaborations Between the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and Educational Institutions in Latin America Paper presented at 2015 ASEE International Forum, Seattle, Washington. https://peer.asee.org/17153
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