According to the U.S. Department of State, more than 325,000 students in 2015-2016 studied abroad for academic credit. Twenty-five percent of those students were pursuing degrees in a STEM field.
Earning a degree in engineering and studying abroad are not mutually exclusive. In fact, since fall of 2011, the Statler College has offered our students the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Global Competency. Requiring 16 credit hours, components of the certificate include coursework associated with language and culture, a social service component and engineering or computer science coursework.
In this issue of “Engineering West Virginia,” you’ll hear how recent study abroad experiences affected the lives of five of our students. Whether it’s spending an entire semester in Australia, working with WVU Global and Medical Brigades in Nicaragua or visiting our newest campus in Bahrain, each student came back to Morgantown with memories of adventures that will last a lifetime.
In addition to programs offered at the University level, the Statler College hosts its own engineering-based programs. The longest running of these is our summer industrial internship program in Mexico. For more than 20 years, Victor Mucino, professor and associate chair for education in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, has led teams to Querétaro, Mexico, for eight weeks to earn nine credits toward an engineering degree. Students team up with Mexican students of similar disciplines and level, and gain industrial experience working full time on meaningful engineering projects with multinational companies. More than 500 students have gone through the program, working on close to 200 projects. After a recent visit, Luis Corral, Edison and Learning Leader with General Electric’s Infrastructure Queretaro, noted the program “lays the foundations of technical and soft skills that are very much relevant in early identified talent at GE, with a particular focus in our Technical Leadership Programs.”
Others making an impact on the international stage include Antar Jutla, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. Using NASA satellite data, Dr. Jutla and colleagues from the University of Maryland have developed a model to predict outbreaks of pathogenic cholera bacteria. Aid experts in the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development used his model in tandem with one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers to predict when and where cholera will spread. In March, DFID began using the data to work with UNICEF to prevent the spread of the disease ahead of the rainy season in Yemen, delivering hygiene kits, clean water, cholera treatment kits and medical equipment to areas predicted to be at risk. Earlier this year, Dr. Jutla won a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation for his research in this area.
While we are proud of the many accomplishments of our students and faculty, we are committed to doing more to increase the educational and research opportunities of our students, to diversifying our educational environment at all levels, to promoting programs that support the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges and the American Society of Engineering Education’s pledge and to economic development.
Eugene V. Cilento
Glen H. Hiner Dean and Professor