International Educator - March/April 2016 - 46

EDUCATION ABROAD

Spotlight on STEM Internships Abroad
Many universities sponsor a wide range of overseas internships
for their undergraduate STEM students.
Wildfire Science Project
in Australia and New Zealand
In 2010 MSU launched a unique international research
internship program for Native American undergraduate
students majoring in forestry science at Salish Kootenai College
(SKC), a tribal college in northwest Montana.
Thus far, 13 SKC students have participated in this
mentored eight-week summer internship in New Zealand and
Tasmania, Australia. The program was designed by MSU in
collaboration with SKC and the overseas partners that hosted
the students' internships. Funds to support the students' travel
and expenses were covered by a five-year grant from NSF's
Partnerships in International Research and Education (PIRE).
The student internships are just one aspect of the PIRE-wildfire
research program, which is designed to improve scientific
understanding about the effects of humans and climate
change on wildfire activity.
The summer internship began with four weeks of
supervised "hands-on, learning by doing" field experiences in
Australia and New Zealand, said Rudman. The students spent
the next four weeks at the University of Auckland in New
Zealand, the Auckland Council, the local government council
for the Auckland region, and the Tasmanian Land Conservancy,
an environmental nongovernment organization (NGO) in
Tasmania. During the internship, students saw firsthand the
different career options, from field research to education and
public policy, that are available for forestry science majors. "The
internship broadened their horizons," Rudman noted.
SKC student Matthew Weingart, who completed the
internship in 2015, said, "Science is a passion I've had since I
was a small child. Being exposed to different areas of science
made me sure that science is what I want to do. I saw the world
from a new perspective. It helped me grow as a person and as
a scientist."

NanoJapan: Research in Asia's Top
Nanotechnology Labs
Arthur Win, a third-year electrical engineering student
at TU, was one of 14 U.S. students selected in 2015 to
participate in NanoJapan International Research Experience
for Undergraduates, an annual 11-week summer research
internship in nanotechnology cosponsored by NSF-PIRE and
Rice University.
Win's internship began in Tokyo with three weeks of
Japanese language classes, culture and science lectures, and
discussions about global and domestic issues. "In addition to
teaching us to read and speak basic Japanese, these sessions
helped us to avoid committing a lot of cultural faux pas in
Japan," he said.

46  

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR M A R + A P R .16

Each week Wen and the other students in the NanoJapan
internship program were required to write reflections
comparing how decisionmaking and conflict are handled in labs
in Japan and the United States, said Matherly.
During the remaining eight weeks of his internship, Win
worked on a research project in Tohoku University's ultrabroadband signal processing lab in Sendai. "I got to learn
how to use a lot of advanced instruments," said Wen, who
subsequently presented his research at two scientific meetings.
As a NanoJapan intern at Osaka University in 2013, TU
student Jordan Hoyt conducted studies on "how we can blow
bubbles to align carbon nanotubes" that resulted in a published
journal paper. As a result of the internship, Hoyt said that he
gained "confidence in myself both as a nanoscience researcher
and as a student of another language. I never really took
learning a second language seriously until this program, so it
was incredible to feel like I could teach myself anything in the
lab or out in the real world."
Hoyt, whose career goal is a professorship in either
electrical or mechanical engineering, added, "This program
and the confidence it's given me has been a huge building
block in my career and has allowed me to be a more adaptable
and potent researcher, leading me to internships at Rutgers
University and Colorado School of Mines."

Product Engineering Internship
at IBM-Singapore
At the end of her summer 2015 stint as a product engineering
intern at IBM's offices in Singapore, GT student Christine
Wangen was selected by the company to present her and her
IBM colleagues' work to a visiting U.S. official of the company.
Their project was titled CABRE (commodity analysis and
business reporting environment) and was designed to improve
IBM's supply chain and reduce the company's costs at every
step of the process, Wangen said.
During her three-month internship, Wangen, who is
majoring in industrial and systems engineering at GT, worked
as a member of IBM's Technical Enablement and Qualifications
(TEQ) team responsible for the project.
In her work as an intern, Wangen succeeded in reducing the
amount of time required for completing a specific task from
four days to less than five minutes. "It was exciting to see how
my optimization knowledge as well as my coding skills are used
in real-world applications."
However, her most valuable experience during the
internship was "learning to work with another culture," she
said. "I learned how to act professionally in an Asian business
environment and more about the culture."



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - March/April 2016

Contents
International Educator - March/April 2016 - Cover1
International Educator - March/April 2016 - Cover2
International Educator - March/April 2016 - Contents
International Educator - March/April 2016 - 2
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