Cody Howard
School of Engineering

Engineering students travel to India to assess study abroad opportunities

Thu, 08/08/2013

LAWRENCE — An expanded study abroad opportunity could soon be available to engineering students at the University of Kansas. As part of their capstone experience, seniors in the SELF Engineering Leadership Fellows Program will travel in August to four cities in India where they will visit several universities in hopes of finding the right academic match for Jayhawk engineers.

“We will meet with faculty at these colleges and evaluate course materials to see what our program and our students can offer them and how we could benefit from the experience,” said Kathryn Scherich, Emporia, a senior in chemical engineering and project leader of the SELF capstone experience, known as The India Impact.

The vision is for engineering students to spend two to three weeks in India over winter break, with an accompanying semester-long course at KU.

“The Fellows would like this new course and study abroad program to fulfill the Global Awareness requirement of the new KU Core curriculum, which every engineering student must complete to graduate,” said Heidie Grove-Tosaka, SELF program director.

Grove-Tosaka is one of two staff members from the School of Engineering traveling with the 15 seniors in the SELF Program. The group leaves Aug. 10 for the 14-day trip to India that will take them to the cities of Thiruvananthapuram, Alleppey, Kochi and Bangalore. Their university visits include the Asian School of Business, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Rajagiri School of Engineering and Technology, and IBS Business School.

The group also will be accompanied by Kissan Joseph, associate professor in the School of Business, who leads a similar study abroad program between the Asian School of Business in Thiruvananthapuram and KU, and Michael Detamore, KU professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, who may serve as the lead instructor on the potential course that will be paired with the School of Engineering study abroad winter program.

“We know global learning is important, and companies are certainly placing a greater emphasis on it,” said Scherich.  “We’re hoping students will have study abroad opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise while fulfilling a credit requirement.”

The SELF Fellows also will visit several businesses during their time in India, including Hindustan Lifecare, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of women’s health care products, and Infosys, a multinational provider of business consulting, information technology, software engineering and outsourcing services. They will also visit Google and Sabre Holdings in Bangalore. The group will experience Indian culture – the trip coincides with the country’s Independence Day on Aug. 15. The Fellows will also lead a discussion in Thiruvananthapuram about the history of Independence Day in the United States.

The Fellows raised more than $60,000 to make the trip a reality. 

“Without our donors, none of this would be possible,” Scherich said. “We’re very thankful for all of their support.  It really shows people care about global learning and that this is a valuable experience for college students today.”

The trip sponsors are Bob and Susie Peebler, ION Geophysical Corporation; Scott and Betsy Coons; Allyn and Jill Risley; Linda and Russ Sims, ExxonMobil; the KU Honors Program; Pat and Brenda Oenbring; Frank and Barbara Becker; Mike and Joyce Shinn, the GE Foundation; Don and Kathleen Faught, Michael Branicky; Phil and Patricia Anderson; Stan and Phyllis Rolfe; and JoAnn Browning and Adolfo Matamoros.

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