IIE Networker - Spring 2011 - (Page 39)

EXPANDING STUDY ABROAD IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING NanoJapan: Preparing Globally Savvy Researchers By Cheryl Matherly and Sarah Phillips JEFFREY LEE, A sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering at Rice University, described the moment during the 2010 NanoJapan Program when he really understood the global nature of science research: “The best example . . . came when a professor from Boston University came to [Professor Tonouchi’s] lab and gave a talk at an Osaka University symposium. Sometime that week, I found myself eating dinner with an American professor, a doctoral student from China, all hosted by a Japanese professor and his lab, and I realized the truth behind the statement that science transcends international borders.” Lee’s experience reinforced one of the learning objectives of the NanoJapan International Research Experience for Undergraduates. As international partnerships become increasingly indispensible to solving major science and engineering problems, U.S. researchers and educators must be able to operate effectively in teams comprised of partners from different nations and cultural backgrounds. The NanoJapan program was developed to address this need by attracting undergraduate students to the emerging areas of electrical engineering and the physical sciences, especially the study of nanotechnology. By involving and training students in cutting-edge research projects in nanoscale science and engineering, this program aims to increase the number of U.S. students who choose to pursue graduate study in this field, while also cultivating a generation of globally aware engineers and scientists who are prepared for international research collaboration. The NanoJapan program is the key educational initiative of the National Science Foundation–funded Partnerships for International Research and Education (NSF-PIRE) grant awarded to the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of Rice University and the Center for Global Education at the University of Tulsa. The program was awarded five years of funding in 2006 and has been renewed for another five years. Jeffrey Lee, a student from Rice University, experiences bunraku, a form of traditional Japanese puppet theater, firsthand at the Bunraku National Theater in Osaka, Japan. NanoJapan is a 12-week summer program that places first- and second-year undergraduate science and engineering students from U.S. universities in research internships with Japanese nanotechnology laboratories. While the heart of the program is the summer research experience, NanoJapan places a strong emphasis on preparing students to work effectively in cross-cultural laboratory settings. Before beginning work in their research labs, students complete a three-week orientation program based in Tokyo that combines 45 hours of Japanese language instruction, an orientation to Japanese life and culture, and an introduction to nanoscale science in Japan. At the completion of the orientation, students depart for their research labs, working for eight weeks at universities throughout Japan. At the end of the summer, the students return to Rice University to participate in a re-entry seminar and present their summer research with other students who completed domestic research projects as part of the Rice Quantum Institute Symposium. The NSF-PIRE Program The PIR E program, which funds NanoJapan, was created in 2005 to “enable U.S. scientists and engineers to establish collaborative relationships with international colleagues in order to advance new knowledge and discoveries at the frontiers of science and engineering and to promote the development of a diverse, globally engaged U.S. scientific and engineering workforce” (NSF-PIRE, 2005). Rice University and the University of Tulsa were among the first 12 recipients of this grant. The PIRE program was in part a response to what the NSF characterized as the internationalization of science and technology innovation. About 20 percent of the world’s scientific and technical articles in 2003 had authors from two or more countries (compared with 8 percent in 1988), and one-quarter of articles with U.S. authors have one or more international coauthors (NSF, 2006). PIRE was also a response to the changing expectations of which skills are required for professional engineers. The National Academy for Engineering’s vision for the engineer of 2020 significantly broadens 39

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Spring 2011

IIE Networker - Spring 2011
Contents
A Message from Allan E. Goodman
News
IIENetworker University Presidents Interview Series
2011 IIE Andrew Heiskell Awards: Innovation in International Education
100,000 Strong: Building Strategic Trust in U.S.-China Relations through Education
Experiencing Difference: The Meaning of Globalization at a Diverse Institution
Diversity in International Education: The Time Is Now
Diversity in Education Abroad: A Plan for Our Campuses
Best Practices for Diversifying Study Abroad on Your Campus
The Ethnorelative Engineer: Culturally Immersive Study Abroad Programs for Engineering Students
NanoJapan: Preparing Globally Savvy Researchers
Minority Faculty: The Key to Diversifying Study Abroad
Best Practices for When Diversity Is Commonplace
Advertisers’ Index
IIE Program Profile

IIE Networker - Spring 2011

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