Partnership links to global opportunities

Four IUPUI faculty and staff members who are involved with international opportunities for students attended Oktobertfest in the fall: from left, Jennifer Williams, Pat Fox, Claudia Grossmann and Terri Talbert-Hatch.

Four IUPUI faculty and staff members who are involved with international opportunities for students attended Oktobertfest in the fall: from left, Jennifer Williams, Pat Fox, Claudia Grossmann and Terri Talbert-Hatch.

A partnership linking the School of Engineering and Technology and the Department of World Languages and Cultures in the School of Liberal Arts has given four IUPUI students intriguing international experiences as they prepare to graduate in 2015.

A dual-degree program between the engineering school and German, Spanish and French language programs opened the doors to the internships. Three of them, Brian Knip, Eduardo Salcedo and Jesus Roman, worked with the Bosch Engineering Group in the small town of Abstatt. The fourth, C. J. Nielsen, worked at the University of Heilbronn. Both Abstatt and Heilbronn are located in southern Germany.

Knip, Salcedo and Roman tested their skills and knowledge in Bosch’s research and development department as part of an international group of engineering professionals, researchers and interns. Nielsen worked at an engineering lab alongside graduate students. All but Knip are part of IUPUI’s motorsports engineering program; Knip majors in mechanical engineering.

Claudia Grossmann, director of IUPUI’s German program, said the time abroad has an impact on the students.

“They gain new language, technical and intercultural skills, and gain on a personal level, as well,” Grossmann said. “They learn how to take care of themselves in another culture. As interns, they don’t have as much support as they are used to, so they have to deal with a wide range of practical experiences. That’s invaluable.”

Terri Talbert-Hatch, the assistant dean of student services in Engineering and Technology, knows the dual-degree program allows students to prepare for professional careers while benefitting schools at the same time.

“It helps us develop partnerships with other universities and with businesses,” she said. “Last year, for instance, an official from Bosch Motorsports in Detroit heard about our dual-degree program, and the talented students who were involved, and wondered why the company’s Detroit site didn’t have a similar program.” That has opened a discussion that may lead to opportunities in the U.S.

Both Grossmann and Talbert-Hatch have led student delegations to Germany, and have seen how the trips affected IUPUI students.

“Students figure out pretty quickly how studying abroad can benefit them in internships and career opportunities,” Talbert-Hatch said, noting a wealth of connections linking the U.S. and Germany in engineering fields.

Knip said he learned a lot during his time abroad, not all of it technical.

“Throughout my internship, I discovered both what I enjoyed and disliked about the possible careers available for mechanical engineering graduates,” he said. That knowledge has given him a stronger focus on his career goals as he applies and interviews with prospective employers.

The dual-degree program has been around for a decade, and Grossmann believes that internship prospects in German companies fit well with the language she teaches.

“We have a good following from engineering students, who often are interested in German engineering and want to take advantage of what they can learn,” she said.

“Engineers tend to look at things a little differently, and doing an internship in Germany allows them to experience technology that is just as advanced, but in a different culture,” Grossmann added. “The language immersion and engineering work enrich each other.”

By Ric Burrous

Summer research fellowship in archaeological and earth sciences

Wanted: Academically talented university sophomores and juniors with an interest in both the natural and the social and behavioral sciences.

The assignment: Four weeks of paleoenvironmental and archaeological research in the Illinois and Ohio River valleys and four weeks of training in an IUPUI laboratory — with pay.

The Department of Anthropology and Department of Earth Sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the Indiana Geological Survey and Department of Geological Sciences at Indiana University-Bloomington seek 10 undergraduates as research fellows for a program titled “Angel Mounds Research Experiences for Undergraduates Site: Multidisciplinary Training for Students in Environmental and Social Sciences through Archaeological Research.”

Students selected will participate in research examining the interplay among climate change, human settlement histories and agricultural impacts to landscapes over the past 2,000 years across the lower Midwestern United States. The Research Experiences for Undergraduates fellows will participate in every phase of the project, from research design and data collection to laboratory analyses, archival research and interpretation.

“While the research questions revolve around archaeological sites, regions and time periods, we encourage talented undergraduates with diverse majors and programs of study ranging from biochemistry, geology, environmental studies and biology to anthropology and geography to apply to our program,” said Jeremy J. Wilson, director of the Angel Mounds National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program and an assistant professor of anthropology in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

“Native Americans and members of other groups underrepresented in the social sciences, humanities and STEM disciplines are strongly encouraged to apply,” Wilson said.

The project runs June 2 through Aug. 1, with a one-week break for the Fourth of July holiday. Fellows will receive a $500 weekly stipend, housing and all necessary equipment. Participants will also receive an allowance to support travel to and from the Research Experiences for Undergraduates site and to attend the Midwest Archaeological Conference in Champaign, Ill., to present their research.

The objectives of the Angel Mounds program are to:

  • Provide students with field and laboratory training in archaeology, geochemistry and geophysics.
  • Give students an opportunity to build cohort and professional networks that will serve them throughout their careers.
  • Provide students an opportunity to participate in a project of regional and historical significance.

Applications for the summer program are available online.