Global Education News - 2008

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  • Approximately 15% of MIT undergraduates will spend time studying or researching in another country. Following DUE’s strategic theme to foster global leadership through foreign travel, this percentage is predicted to grow. Using the capabilities of Second Life, OEIT contractor Evan Leek has created - within MIT’s existing Second Life SIM - a gathering  space for globally distributed students. Although far away from MIT in the real world, students will nevertheless be able to communicate in a virtual space and therefore maintain connected to their peers and to the greater MIT community.  Eventually the space could be extended to reflect real-time events and activities on the MIT campus.

  • The 7th annual International Development Fair (IDF) took place on Friday, October 3rd. Each year, the Fair provides incoming and continuing MIT students the opportunity to learn about ways that they can become engaged in international development through student groups, nonprofit organizations, or academic course offerings in and around the MIT campus. On that Friday, over 40 groups and organizations of all types set up booths to display their development projects and enlist the interested students who pass through the fair grounds.

  • The Global Education and Career Development Center has registered MIT for free access to The BIG Guide to Living and Working Overseas Online, the world’s best international career guide for students and young professionals.

    The BIG Guide Online offers expert advice for anyone considering going abroad to study, volunteer, intern, teach, travel or work. Students will discover opportunities, acquire skills and develop the all-important global perspective with this easy-to-use interactive online guide and toolkit. And student advisors, mentors, career counselors and study abroad advisors will also find key tools to empower their students. Visit http://www.workingoverseas.com register to gain free access.

  • The UAAP reports that thirty-four undergraduates are conducting UROP research overseas this summer. This is a significant increase over summer 2007, where twelve students were engaged in internationally-based UROP projects (known as “IROP”).

  • The collaboration between the Committee on Foreign Scholarships, chaired by Professor Linn Hobbs, and the Distinguished Fellowships program, headed by Kim Benard, was very fruitful during the past year. MIT students were awarded a total of 23 major awards, including 5% of the world’s supply of Gates Scholars this year! Even more impressive is the fact that thirty-seven MIT students reached the final rounds of these competitions.

    This year MIT students garnered 1 Rhodes Scholarship, 1 Marshall Scholarship, 5 Gates Cambridge Scholarships, 6 Fulbright Awards, 1 Chateaubriand Fellowship, 2 Kawamura Scholarships, 1 Merage Foundation for the American Dream Fellowship, 1 Udall Scholarship, 1 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Fellowship, 1 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Fellowship1, and 3 Goldwater Scholarships1.

  • The February edition DUE newsletter announced the appointment of Melanie Parker, Executive Director of the MIT Careers Office, as leader of DUE’s Global Theme. Melanie took over from Kim Vandiver who led the theme from June 2006 through 2007.

    Members of the recently-reconstituted Global Team which Melanie heads are Michael Bergren (UAAP), Pat Gercik (MISTI), Malgorzata Hedderick (Office of Foreign Study/MITCO), Betsy Hicks (SFS), Alison Hynd (International Development Initiative/PSC), Vijay Kumar (OEIT) and Elizabeth Reed (DUE.) A primary focus for the team will be continued implementation of the recommendations of GEOMIT, the Global Educational Opportunities at MIT Committee established by Daniel Hastings in June 2006. The Committee was charged with defining the best approach for MIT to provide global opportunities in undergraduate education. Several DUE people served on the Committee-- Malgorzata Hedderick, Kim Vandiver and Elizabeth Reed-- and Jen Cook provided staff support. GEOMIT’s final report,
    completed last fall, made 17 recommendations which, overall, reflect the distinctive, innovative MIT flavor that characterizes some of our existing, excellent models for international experience, i.e. CMI, MIT-Madrid, MISTI, IROP, D-Lab, etc.

  • It is no surprise that MIT students seem to continually look for ways to take knowledge developed on campus and use it to make positive differences in foreign cultures and environments. As educators, we know that overseas learning opportunities significantly enhance the overall academic and social development of students, and we are committed to providing a broad selection of these opportunities to MIT undergraduates. Recognizing that UROP research has long played a key role in learning at MIT, it is clear that the Institute’s intensified focus on global learning should fully include cultivation and support of international research opportunities.