Could not download file: This paper is available to authorised users only.


J. Romagni1, M. Colvin1, J.C. Garcia Galindo2

1DePaul University (UNITED STATES)
2University of Cadiz (SPAIN)
During Summer 2014, an international development team was formed with a charge to create a unique STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Study Abroad program for undergraduate students. The US component represented DePaul University (DPU) while the Spanish group consists of faculty from University of Cadiz (UCA). Historically, these STEM students have been hindered from participating in traditional study abroad programs due to their compacted curriculum. This program will give these students an opportunity to study abroad while maximizing their learning experiences, and gaining course credits for the three course short semester.

The program is based on a successful NSF (National Science Foundation) supported REU (Research Experience for Undergraduate) program. The developing program will initially bring DPU students for an eight (8) week summer program. The program will follow two tracks: Chemistry and Environmental Science/Marine Ecology. These will be accompanied by a specifically tailored support course in mathematics and a Spanish language course. DePaul students will receive credit for all three courses (or any combination thereof).

Students will attend a science course in environmental/coastal ecology or an Instrumental chemistry class. These short lecture courses will be taught by a DPU faculty member. Students will spend the bulk of their time in the research lab (lead by UCA faculty) working on a serious research project determined in collaboration between DePaul and UCA. Pairs of students (1 UCA:1 DPU) will spend afternoons in a research lab mentored by their own UCA faculty member (each group of students is in a different group, allowing for individualized attention). Each group will be given a small project that is part of a larger project within the group. The DPU faculty will coordinate, troubleshoot and will be responsible for weekly objectives, etc. This immersion into another culture will provide the opportunity for our students to interact with Spanish students, both undergraduate and graduate, post-docs and faculty. It provides UCA students with much – needed English skills while developing similar Spanish language skills for the US students. UCA is currently working on a program that requires their students to take a course in their major in English. This would help to fulfill that requirement for them while helping our students.

The most interesting and innovative component is the mathematics course offered by DePaul faculty. Students in the sciences rarely get the opportunity to understand how math supports their specific discipline. For this project, we will tailor the mathematics to concepts that are behind the instrumentation as well as experimental design, multivariate analysis, and optimization and modeling. For environmental sciences, we could include an upper level bio-statistics course.

There are several unique aspects that separate this from other traditional study abroad programs. First, it is a true research experience. As part of their curriculum, STEM students require summer research experience and this fulfills it with course credit. This program also requires immersion into the local culture. Students will mix with undergraduates, graduate students and faculty from UCA, both in and out of classes. Both DePaul and UCA faculty are involved. Finally, we will conduct completely innovative mathematics support courses to the science.