Study abroad grant opens up new opportunities to prepare STEM students for the global workplace

By Marilyn Howard Jones

The Cultural Services of the Embassy of France in the U.S. has awarded the University of Houston a $20,000 study abroad grant for a reciprocal exchange with University of Paris – Sud (UPS).  The grant, and further sustainability efforts after it expires, will allow students to participate without cost to them. The new partnership between the University of Houston and the University of Paris – Sud (UPS) will benefit underrepresented students and minorities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) – ultimately making them more attractive to companies and among the best positioned to compete in the job market.

The two principal investigators, Dr. Heidar Malki, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the College of Technology, and Dr. Jaime Ortiz, Vice Provost of Global Strategy/Study and collaborators Professor Said Zouhdi and Professor Sandrine Lacombe, Vice President of International Affairs at Paris-Sud University will lead the program.

Through the exchange, ten students each year - seven undergraduate and three graduate - will either take courses or work with faculty on research projects. The opportunity is particularly attractive because the University of Paris offers STEM courses in both French and English and up to 12 credit hours will be transferable.

The first cohort of students will be selected during the fall 2017 semester for travel to France in spring 2018.