Lincoln University was recently awarded a $50,000 U.S. State Department grant to fund a new program to encourage more minority STEM students to participate in study and research abroad experiences.
The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs along with the nonprofit Partners of the Americas made the announcement July 7, which placed Lincoln among 18 schools out of 160 to win its competitive 2016 Capacity Building Grant for U.S. Undergraduate Study Abroad.
“Nationally, of the over 300,000 undergraduate students studying abroad, only 5% are African Americans,” said Monica Gray, the grant’s principal investigator, program director and assistant professor for Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University’s College of Science & Technology. “To prepare a diverse, culturally competent and globally-engaged workforce underserved and underrepresented minority STEM students must participate in study and research abroad experiences.”
In 2015, Lincoln sent 62 students abroad.
Ultimately, Lincoln’s new grant-funded “Broadening Study Abroad Participation in STEM Fields” program, which will be implemented over the upcoming academic year, will allow the university to increase its overall study abroad participation rate and the number of STEM majors studying and doing research abroad in the Caribbean. Activities and efforts include creation of a new software platform and multiple databases, new policies, workshops, assessments, additional scholarship and visa application helps sessions as well as at least two faulty-led STEM study abroad opportunities for 10 or more students each.
“The goal of this project is to provide Lincoln University students an opportunity to gain global knowledge and scientific methodology skills through a study abroad opportunity,” said Gray, who is collaborating with Constance Lundy, director of the University’s Office of International Programs and Services. “This goal supports the mission of the U.S. Study Abroad Branch because it expands opportunities for minority students to study in non-traditional destinations.”
The mission of the U.S. Department of State’s U.S. Study Abroad Branch is to promote diversity and participation in study abroad by managing existing study abroad programs, building higher education institutional capacity for study abroad, and advocating for the value of study abroad, according to its press release.
“Our diverse higher education system should strive to make study abroad experiences available to as many American students as possible,” said Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan. “Today’s toughest challenges cross international borders, and study abroad gives students the skills and diverse perspectives they need to succeed in the classroom and in their careers.”
Source: Eric Christopher Webb, Lincoln University Office of Communications & Public Relations