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STEM Students Abroad: Understanding their Motivations and Experiences

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STEM Students Abroad: Understanding their Motivations and Experiences

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This session will focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students' motivations for studying abroad and the value of their experiences. With STEM fields underrepresented in study abroad, we hope to share student stories that encourage future STEM students to take the leap. Survey data from STEM student feedback will highlight: why STEM students study abroad, types of experiences, skills gained abroad for future careers or academic pursuits, perceived barriers to studying abroad, and ways to meet those challenges. Part of the session will focus on learning more about academic advisor perspectives on STEM students studying abroad, including benefits and challenges.

This session will focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students' motivations for studying abroad and the value of their experiences. With STEM fields underrepresented in study abroad, we hope to share student stories that encourage future STEM students to take the leap. Survey data from STEM student feedback will highlight: why STEM students study abroad, types of experiences, skills gained abroad for future careers or academic pursuits, perceived barriers to studying abroad, and ways to meet those challenges. Part of the session will focus on learning more about academic advisor perspectives on STEM students studying abroad, including benefits and challenges.

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STEM Students Abroad: Understanding their Motivations and Experiences

  1. 1. STEM Students Abroad: Understanding their Motivations and Experiences Presented by: Christina Dinges, Study Away Advisor, Office of Cross-Cultural Programs, Susquehanna University Jennifer Ellis Fritz, Associate Director, Office of International Education, Bucknell University Erica Haas-Gallo, Study Abroad Advisor, International Academic Programs, University of Wisconsin-Madison Katie Saur, Assistant Director, Office of Overseas Study, Indiana University
  2. 2. What is STEM? Science Technology Engineering Mathematics Over 280 majors Animal Science, Food Science, Pharmacology, Soil Science, Information Technology, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, Robotics, Solar Technology, Ocean Engineering, Medical Science, Wildlife Biology, Animal Genetics, Cell Physiology, Industrial Management, Nanotechnology, Biochemistry, Mining Technology, Computer Hardware, Neuroscience, Bioinformatics, Toxicology, Mathematical Statistics, Geometry, Astronomy, Analytical Chemistry, Geophysics, Theoretical Physics, Genome Science, Medical Informatics, Electromechanical Technology, Undersea Warfare, Data Modeling , Environmental Science, Artificial Intelligence, Horticulture, Immunology, Hydraulics, Biophysics, Conservation Biology, Geometry
  3. 3. STEM Abroad Field of Study % Social Sciences 22.1 Business/Management 20.4 Humanities 10.4 Fine or Applied Arts 7.8 Physical/Life Sciences 8.8 Foreign Languages 4.9 Health Professions 4.1 Education 4.0 Engineering 3.9 Math/Computer Science 1.9 Agriculture 1.3 Undeclared 2.7 Other Fields of Study 5.2 Total 100 STEM total 22.5 IIE Open Doors Report 2014 students abroad 2012-13
  4. 4. Goals of Survey:  Look at what types of study abroad experiences STEM students are going on  Look at what factors impact a STEM’s student decision about studying abroad  Look at who is impacting a STEM’s student to decision to study abroad  Look at what skills STEM students are gaining by studying abroad STEM Survey
  5. 5. 26.3% Male 73.7% Female STEM Survey
  6. 6. STEM Survey
  7. 7. Gender STEM Survey Answer Options Response Percent Response Count 26.3% Male 73.7% Female Male 26.3% 143 Female 73.7% 400
  8. 8. Race/Ethnicity Answer Options STEM Survey Response Percent Response Count White 89.0% 483 Multiracial 1.3% 7 Black or African-American 1.5% 8 Hispanic 3.1% 17 Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0.4% 2 Asian 7.9% 43 Native American 0.6% 3 Other 0.7% 4 answered question 543 skipped question 1
  9. 9. Overall Survey Results Home University/Institution: Answer Options Response Percent Response Count Susquehanna University 6.3% 34 Bucknell University 16.1% 87 Indiana University 20.5% 111 University of Wisconsin - Madison 57.1% 309 answered question 541
  10. 10. Institutional Profile: Susquehanna Enrollment Undergraduate: 2,200 Institutional Type Private Residential Academic Profile The School of Arts and Sciences The Sigmund Weis School of Business Study Abroad Office Structure Centralized Annual Student Mobility-Study Away 450-500
  11. 11. Cross Cultural Experience Requirement  is off-campus  2 weeks minimum  does not have to be for credit  2013 Andrew Heiskell Award for Internationalizing the Campus, presented by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in recognition of Susquehanna’s Global Opportunities (GO) program and other related initiatives.
  12. 12. Survey Summary: Susquehanna University  Used Department of Homeland Security expanded list of STEM degrees in to identify majors  Survey sent to 90 STEM majors participating on an GO program from Fall 2011 to Summer 2014.
  13. 13. Survey Findings: Susquehanna What field was/is your college major in? Answer Options Response Percent Response Count Science 88.2% 30 Technology 0.0% 0 Engineering 0.0% 0 Mathematics 11.8% 4
  14. 14. Gender 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% Male Female Male Female
  15. 15. 100.0% 90.0% 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% White Black or African- American Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander Race/Ethnicity Native American
  16. 16. Where are SU STEM student going? Most Popular  Australia 22.7%  Austria 9.1%  Ecuador 9.1%  France 9.1%  Spain 9.1% Trending  China 4.5%  Costa Rica 4.5%  Denmark 4.5%  Ireland 4.5%  Japan 4.5%  New Zealand 4.5%  South Africa 4.5%  United Kingdom 4.5%  United States Minor Outlying Islands 4.5%
  17. 17. What type of study abroad program are SU STEM choosing? Answer Options 1st experience Field Study program 4 Integrated University Study 8 Overseas Branch Campus 0 Study Abroad Center 1 Travel Seminar 8
  18. 18. 14. Was/were your program(s) credit bearing or non-credit bearing? Type of programs that SU students pursue: 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 1st experience 2nd experience 3rd experience 4th experience I received credit for my major during this abroad program I received credit for my minor/certificate during this abroad program I received elective credit during this abroad program I did not receive credit during this abroad program
  19. 19. Who or what resources were most influential when selecting your program? Please rank the top 3, with 1 being the most influential. Other Study Abroad Fair Info session Open House Presentation Web site Major advising sheets Academic advisor Faculty (Professor, Teaching Assistant,… 0.00 2.00 4.00 6.00 8.00 10.00 12.00 Peer Advisor/Counselor Returned Student Friends Study Abroad Advisor
  20. 20. What factors did you consider when choosing your program? Please rank the top 5, with 1 being the most important factor. Other A certain type of housing (what… Friends going on same program Ability to travel to other… Service or Volunteer opportunities Research, Internship opportunities Cultural immersion (chances to get… Improve language ability Coursework in English Location Scholarship availability Classes that count toward minor… Classes that count toward major… 0.00 2.00 4.00 6.00 8.00 10.00 12.00 14.00 Cost
  21. 21. Support received from my home university for education abroad from the following resources Answer Options Response Percent Response Count Academic department: academic advisor or faculty support 78.9% 15 Study Abroad Office: STEM Education Abroad Study Abroad Advisor or study abroad advisor 52.6% 10 Handouts/flyers: STEM major specific education abroad advising sheets 15.8% 3 Department website 21.1% 4 Study Abroad Office website 26.3% 5 STEM Education Abroad student resources: such as fairs, 15.8% 3 workshops, and/or information sessions Other (please specify) 0.0% 0
  22. 22. Skills gained abroad that can be applied toward current or future careers or academic pursuits: Answer Options Response Percent Response Count Communication Skills 63.6% 14 Ability to speak a foreign language 31.8% 7 Knowledge about another culture 95.5% 21 Awareness of political, economic or social 72.7% 16 events around the world Flexibility/Adaptability 72.7% 16 Tolerance/Open-mindedness 86.4% 19 Problem-solving 36.4% 8 Independence/Self-reliance and awareness 68.2% 15 Time management 50.0% 11 Internship or Research experiences 4.5% 1 Ability to network with diverse groups or 40.9% 9 individuals A better understanding of myself and future goals 50.0% 11 Self-confidence 77.3% 17 Taking Initiative 50.0% 11 Other/Comments: 1
  23. 23. Overall SU Findings  While the survey showed that faculty involvement is a key to encourage STEM students to participate in study abroad, results show that clear information and access to that information proved to be a useful alternative.  Study abroad advisors play a key part in encouraging STEM students to go abroad, especially for a semester.  STEM students when advised correctly can study abroad anywhere, taking general educational credits or language studies
  24. 24. Institutional Profile: Bucknell University Enrollment Total student population: 3,600 Undergraduate: 3,500 Postgraduate: 100 Institutional Type Private/Residential Academic Profile College of Arts & Sciences College of Engineering School of Management Study Abroad Office Structure Centralized Annual Student Mobility-Study Abroad 474 *Upon graduation approximately 50% of Bucknell students study abroad.
  25. 25. Survey Findings: Bucknell University  Survey sent to 249 students  87 students replied  Time span: 2012-2014 Response Percent Response Count 43.4% 36 3.6% 3 43.4% 36 9.6% 8 What field was/is your college major in? Answer Options Science Technology Engineering Mathematics
  26. 26. Survey Findings: Bucknell University Specific 1st Major Replies from:  Computer Science & Engineering (5)  Electrical Engineering (2)  Environmental Studies (2)  Neuroscience (2)  Biomedical engineering (1)  Geology (1)  Civil & Environmental Engineering (17)  Biology (15)  Animal Behavior (13)  Mechanical Engineering (8)  Chemical Engineering (7)  Mathematics (7)
  27. 27. Survey Findings: Bucknell University  Gender  Race/Ethnicity  1st Gen 27.6% 72.4% Male Female White White 86.2% Multiracial Multiracial 1.1% Black or Black or African-American 3.4% Asian Asian 8.0% Other Other-Middle Eastern 1.1% 8.1% 91.9% Yes-first generation college student No
  28. 28. Survey Findings: Bucknell University When does study abroad fit well into the student degree?
  29. 29. Survey Findings: Bucknell University Where did the BU STEM students study abroad? Australia 9 United Kingdom 7 Ireland 7 Spain 7 New Zealand 6 Denmark 4 France 5 Italy 3 Tanzania 3 United States 1 Argentina 1 Barbados 1 China 1 Dominican Republic 1 Ecuador 1 Nicaragua 1 South Africa 1
  30. 30. Survey Findings: Bucknell University What type of study abroad program are BU STEM choosing? Answer Options #’s Field Study program 19 Integrated University Study 36 Overseas Branch Campus 3 Study Abroad Center 15 Travel Seminar 3
  31. 31. Survey Findings: Bucknell University
  32. 32. Survey Findings: Bucknell University
  33. 33. Survey Findings: Bucknell University
  34. 34. Survey Findings: Bucknell University I received support from my home university for education abroad from the following resources (please check all that apply): Response Percent 79.3% 77.6% 8.6% 17.2% 34.5% 6.9% 3.4% Answer Options Academic department: academic advisor or faculty support Study Abroad Office: STEM Education Abroad Study Abroad Advisor or study abroad advisor Handouts/flyers: STEM major specific education abroad advising sheets Department website Study Abroad Office website STEM Education Abroad student resources: such as fairs, workshops, and/or information sessions Other (please specify)
  35. 35. Survey Findings: Bucknell University Participation in an education abroad program contributed to (please check all that apply): Response Percent 63.4% 43.9% 9.8% 63.4% 48.8% 43.9% 63.4% 22.0% 51.2% 58.5% 0.0% Answer Options College major Field of employment Work sector (e.g. non-profit, private, or public) Ability to formulate my career goals and clarify my personal aspirations Developing skills and intercultural competencies that contributed to obtaining The importance I place on working in a field that I find interesting The importance I place on having personal fulfillment from my work Ability to speak a foreign language in the workplace Developing my ability to understand an organization's culture Ability to adapt in diverse workplace environments Other (please specify)
  36. 36. Survey Findings: Bucknell University Overall BU Findings  Students feel supported by academic departments and study abroad office jointly  Students see value in study abroad towards their careers and connect them to global skills  Academic Departments and Advisors have shown interest in developing a deeper relationship to the study abroad office for in part the end result of supporting STEM students in education abroad
  37. 37. Institutional Profile University of Wisconsin at Madison Enrollment of UW Madison Total student population: 43,275 Undergraduate: 29,504 Graduate: 9,430 Profession: 2,526 Special: 1,815 Institutional Type Public, Residential Academic Profile 13 Schools and Colleges Relevant to STEM majors: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; College of Engineering; College of Letters and Science; School of Medicine and Public Health, School of Pharmacy; School of Veterinary Medicine; School of Nursing Study Abroad Office Structure Multiple study abroad offices within various schools and colleges. International Academic Programs serves the largest student population, primarily Letters and Science students. Programs offered through IAP are reviewed and approved by a Faculty Advisory Committee Annual Student Mobility-Study Abroad 2013-14: 1475 students abroad through IAP 2012-13: 1350 students abroad through IAP; 1718 UW-Madison total
  38. 38. UW-Madison Department of Homeland Security expanded list of STEM degrees in to identify majors Survey sent to 1,297 STEM majors participating on an IAP program from Fall 2011 to Summer 2014 24% response rate Survey Summary
  39. 39. UW-Madison Gender • 68% sent survey are female • 76% responders are female • 71% all majors through IAP are female Survey Findings Male 24% Female 76%
  40. 40. UW-Madison Race/Ethnicity Does this reflect STEM make-up on campus? Survey Findings Green: survey response Grey: all IAP program participants 2013-14 100.0% 90.0% 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% White Multiracial Black or African- American Hispanic Asian Native American/ Hawaiian Other Race/Ethnicity:
  41. 41. UW-Madison Highest Participation STEM majors: • Biology • Psychology • Economics • Environmental Studies • Zoology • Biochemistry • Math Survey Findings Major Field Science Technology Engineering Mathematics
  42. 42. UW-Madison Types of Programs UW First Year Interest Groups Ceiba Field Programs School for Field Studies DIS: Denmark University of Leeds University of Iceland National University of Singapore Survey Findings 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Field Study program Integrated University Study Overseas Branch Campus Study Abroad Center Students Travel Seminar
  43. 43. UW-Madison Where they are going Spain Italy United Kingdom Australia Costa Rica Ecuador Ireland Survey Findings Location Ireland Ecuador Costa Rica Australia United Kingdom Italy Spain other
  44. 44. UW-Madison Survey Findings 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Term abroad Students When do they go abroad? 200 180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Status Abroad Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
  45. 45. UW-Madison Credit All classes on UW-Madison programs receive UW in-residence credit Included in GPA Survey Findings 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Type of credit abroad 1st experience 2nd experience 3rd experience I did not receive credit during this abroad program I received elective credit during this abroad program I received credit for my minor/certificate during this abroad program I received credit for my major during this abroad program
  46. 46. UW-Madison Most Influential Factors Website Friends SA Advisor Returned Students Survey Findings 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Most Influential Factors
  47. 47. UW-Madison Skills Gained •Knowledge about another culture •Independence/Self-reliance •Tolerance/Open-mindedness •Flexibility •Awareness of political, economic or social events around the world •Self-confidence Survey Findings 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 Skills Gained to Apply to Future Career or Academics
  48. 48. UW-Madison •My ability to adapt in diverse workplace environments •My ability to formulate my career goals and clarify my personal aspirations •My college major •The importance I place on having personal fulfillment from my work Survey Findings Study Abroad Contributed to: 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Participation Contributed to My:
  49. 49. Institutional Profile: Indiana University Enrollment of IU-Bloomington Total student population: 46,817 Undergraduate: 36,862 Graduate: 9955 Institutional Type Public Residential Academic Profile 15 Schools and Colleges Relevant to STIM majors: College of Arts and Sciences; School of Informatics and Computing; School of Nursing; School of Public Health Study Abroad Office Structure Centralized program approval process for IU system, but multiple study abroad offices/coordinators within various schools and colleges and on IU regional campuses. Annual Student Mobility-Study Abroad 2286, IUB campus, 2900 system wide
  50. 50. Survey Findings: Indiana University Used Department of Homeland Security expanded list of STEM degrees in to identify majors Survey sent to 330 STEM majors participating on an OVST program from Fall 2011 to Summer 2014 30% response rate
  51. 51. Survey Findings: Gender Gender:  Male: 31.2 % of respondents  Female: 68.8% of respondents Overall participation rates: 39% male, 61% female Male Female
  52. 52. Survey Findings: Race/Ethnicity Race:  White: 87.2%  Asian: 11%  Hispanic: 2.8%  African American: 1.8%  Multiracial: .9%  Native American, Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: .9% White Multiracial Black or African- American Hispanic Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander Asian Native American
  53. 53. Survey Findings: Indiana University FIELD/MAJORS Highest Participation STEM majors: 86.5% of respondents were from science majors 10.6% were from Tech fields IUB does not offer Engineering as a major 100.0% 90.0% 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% Science Technology Engineering Mathematics
  54. 54. Survey Findings: Indiana University Type of Program: 1. Study Abroad Center 2. Integrated University Study 3. Field Study Program Popular Programs for STEM students: • Tropical Biology programs to Costa Rica and Grand Cayman (faculty-led) • Direct enrollment options in Australia and England • Wide variety of other programs 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Field Study Integrated University Study Overseas Branch Campus Study Abroad Center Travel Seminar
  55. 55. Survey Findings: Indiana University When are STEM students going abroad?  Majority of 60 50 40 respondents (57 out of 30 86 for this question) 20 are going abroad 10 during their Junior year 0 Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
  56. 56. Survey Findings: Indiana University Where are IU students going abroad?  Australia  Spain  Grand Cayman Islands (faculty-led)  Italy  Austria Academic Credit  83 % of respondents earned credit towards a major or minor  43% earned elective credit  5% participated on non-credit bearing experiences
  57. 57. Most Influential Resources and Factors Top Resources: Web site  Friends/Returned Students Study Abroad Advisor Faculty/Academic Advisors Most Important Factors when choosing a program: Location  Classes that count towards major/minor Cost Cultural Immersion
  58. 58. Outcomes Top Skills gained: Knowledge about another culture Independence/Self- Reliance and awareness Awareness of Political, Social and Economic events 100.0% 90.0% 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0%
  59. 59. Outcomes  Participation in a study abroad program contributed to:  College Major  Ability to Formulate Career Goals and clarify my personal aspirations  Ability to adapt in diverse workplaces 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0%
  60. 60. Academic Advisor Perspectives on STEM students studying abroad Faculty Led Programs: Focus Australia and GalápaGOs Consistent information sessions for faculty and students GO Long semester programs which feature research and internships: Cyprus (Pre-Med Program) and Bioko Island (Drexel) Coming soon: Dual degrees, expansion of abroad and domestic partnerships
  61. 61. Academic Advisor Perspectives on STEM Students Studying Abroad  BU Engineering Committee on International Education -engineering departments host own study abroad sessions  Study Abroad Major Advising Pages (MAPs)  BU Academic Departmental Liaisons Program for EA  FYIS: STEM & EA -connecting to larger university structure
  62. 62. UW-Madison Academic Notes Academic Advisor Perspectives on STEM students studying abroad • Pre-Health, Biology, Wildlife Ecology, Zoology, Genetics & Environmental Studies supportive of semester programs • Physical Sciences are more likely to support summer or short-term • Majors that are accredited by outside organizations are supportive, but often direct students to summer or elective programs • Major advisors more open to exploring courses abroad for major than college advisors • Engineering school has own programs, but directs to IAP for other Engineering and elective programs • Faculty and advisor interest in research abroad opportunities
  63. 63. Other Joint  Study Abroad Fair pre-session for STEM students  YouTube channel featuring STEM students or faculty who went abroad  Department website highlighting study abroad  Bulletin boards in advising office featuring Biology students  Arranging Study Abroad visits to Bio courses  Introduce departments to STEM program providers when visiting campus Joint Activities UW-Madison
  64. 64. Academic Advisor Perspectives on STEM students studying abroad According to STIM advisors, curricular issues tend to be the most challenging: • In some cases, summer programs are easier for STIM students to fit into their curriculum. • Some degree programs have more flexibility in completing coursework abroad (example: Biology has 300/400 level lecture/lab requirements whereas Chemistry has more sequenced semesters) • STIM students often looking for experiential components (research opportunities overseas)
  65. 65. Other Joint  Information Sessions for STEM students on study abroad options  Information Sessions for Informatics and Computer Science students  Major Fliers: Sciences, but also broken down by individual major  Department websites highlighting study abroad  Liaison role with academic advisors in STEM fields  Introduce departments to overseas partners when visiting campus Joint Activities Indiana University
  66. 66. Research/Resources for STEM & EA IIE: Promoting Study Abroad in Science and Technology Fields: White Paper #5 in IIE's Policy Research Series on Meeting America's Global Education Challenge http://www.iie.org/en/Research-and-Publications/Publications-and-Reports/IIE-Bookstore/Promoting-Study-Abroad-in-Science-and- Technology-Fields NAFSA Underrepresentation in Education Abroad Subcommittee http://www.nafsa.org/Find_Resources/Supporting_Study_Abroad/Network_Resources/Education_Abroad/Underrepresentation_in_Education_Abroad_Subcommittee / NAFSA Resources for Supporting Diversity in Education Abroad: (Under Represented Majors) http://www.nafsa.org/Find_Resources/Supporting_Study_Abroad/Resources_for_Supporting_Diversity_in_Education_Abroad/ Diversity in Education Abroad Task Forces http://www.diversitynetwork.org/uncategorized/dan-task-forces
  67. 67. Resources Developed to support EA and STEM NAFSA Connecting Our World Grassroots Leadership Program: Increasing Study Abroad Participation for STEM Students at Bucknell University http://www.connectingourworld.org/files/Grassroots_Leadership_J_Fritz.pdf http://www.connectingourworld.org/get-involved/grassroots-leadership-program/grassroots-leadership-program-reports/ • Creates action plan to address STEM EA Underrepresentation NAFSA Region VIII: Science, Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Abroad (EA) Mini Conference http://www.nafsa.org/Connect_and_Network/Engage_with_a_Community/NAFSA_Regions/Region_VIII/Conference/STEM_Mini_Conference/ • Conference created to support education abroad professionals seeking to advocate for STEM students in Education Abroad
  68. 68. Discussion/Questions Please take a few minutes to share some best practices or innovative STEM related programs from your own campuses with those around you.
  69. 69. Our contact information • Christina Dinges, Study Away Advisor Office of Cross-Cultural Programs Susquehanna University dinges@susqu.edu 570-372-4692 • Jennifer Ellis Fritz, Associate Director Office of International Education Bucknell University jef025@bucknell.edu 570-577-3743 • Erica Haas-Gallo, Study Abroad Advisor International Academic Programs University of Wisconsin-Madison haasgallo@studyabroad.wisc.edu 608-261-1020 • Katie Saur, Assistant Director Office of Overseas Study Indiana University kbsaur@iu.edu 812-855-7588

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