Asee peer logo

The inGEAR Program: Recruiting International Graduate Students through Undergraduate Research Internships

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Assessing Learning Outcomes for Flipped Classrooms, Recruitment and Research Internships, and Alternate Assessments for Online Courses

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Katy Luchini-Colbry Michigan State University

visit author page

Katy Luchini-Colbry is the Director for Graduate Initiatives at the College of Engineering at Michigan State University, where she completed degrees in political theory and computer science. A recipient of a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, she earned Ph.D. and M.S.E. in computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan. She has published more than two dozen peer-reviewed works related to her interests in educational technology and enhancing undergraduate education through hands-on learning. Luchini-Colbry is also the Director of the Engineering Futures Program of Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society, which provides interactive seminars on interpersonal communications and problem solving skills for engineering students across the U.S.

visit author page


Mary Anne Walker Michigan State University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Mary Anne Walker serves as the Director of Global Engineering at Michigan State University. She has been working in the field of international development, research, education and training for 30 years. Mary Anne did her undergraduate work at Northeastern University (Comparative Int’l Politics) studied abroad through London School of Economics & Kings College with graduate work at Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (U.S. Foreign Policy), in Madrid, Spain (language pedagogy) and American University (International Law and Organizations). She also served as a Fellow to the United Nations University.

visit author page

Download Paper |


We describe a pilot program to engage undergraduates from international institutions in engineering research at a major research university in the Midwestern United States. The inGEAR (Internship in Global Engineering & Advanced Research) program was developed after a number of years of working to accommodate individual faculty who wished to bring international students from outside the United States to campus for short-term research projects. The logistics of obtaining appropriate visas, housing, and compensation for international research interns can be challenging. In response, the College of Engineering developed the inGEAR program to meet the following goals: (1) to partner with key institutions internationally; (2) to offer a single, streamlined process for bringing highly talented international students to campus as visiting scholars; (3) to allow our faculty to engage with talented students from outside the US; (4) to allow students to connect with prospective mentors for their future graduate studies; and (5) to gather key academic and professional information from applicants that can be used to recruit prospective graduate students. Nearly 1,000 applications were received and 20 senior undergraduates were selected to work with engineering faculty at our institution for 8 weeks during Summer 2015.

inGEAR students were responsible for their own travel expenses, but received on-campus housing, meals and bus passes for the duration of their stay. Students participated in full-time research activities with a faculty mentor and presented the results of their research at a poster symposium at the conclusion of the program. inGEAR students also participated in weekly professional development activities, which were designed and delivered by the College of Engineering in concert with an existing undergraduate research program. Throughout these research and professional development activities, inGEAR students had multiple opportunities to work in teams that crossed disciplinary and cultural boundaries. inGEAR students completed pre- and post-experience surveys and completed a number of research assignments. We describe the logistics of the application and selection process; share lessons learned about visa and compensation options for short-term research internships; and offer practical guidance for institutions interested in adapting or replicating these activities to recruit strong international students to engineering graduate programs in the United States.

Luchini-Colbry, K., & Walker, M. A. (2016, June), The inGEAR Program: Recruiting International Graduate Students through Undergraduate Research Internships Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26195

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015