International Initiatives in the Study of Chemistry

Organizer: Marina C. Koether, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Kennesaw State University, MS 1203, 1000 Chastain Road, Kennesaw, GA, 30144, tel: (770) 423-6166, Email:
As 2011 is the International Year of Chemistry, this symposium was created as a showcase of the international educational programs available in the study of chemistry. Bradley Miller of the ACS Office of International Activities began the Symposium describing the ACS-International Research Experiences for undergraduate exchange program as well as the ACS Global Research Experiences, Exchanges and Training Program (GREET) Pilot Program. Students have been placed in Germany, UK, France and Italy and present their findings at an ACS meeting. Zeev Rosenzweig from the Division of Chemistry, NSF described the advantages and challenges of the International Collaboration in Chemistry (ICC) program which has been overly popular; producing excellent science but lacking in representation by women. Kathrin Winkler of the German Research Foundation (DFG) described the DFG, the collaboration with NSF and 24 other countries and how international research training groups are being created. Of interest was the lack of international CHED studies. Justin Lomont spoke about his experience as a study abroad student and assistant while attending the University of Michigan. This bilateral exchange between China and the USA involved a video conference between the two sites. Survey results indicated that the lab mates are a lot closer in China. Rebecca Braslau of University of California Santa Cruz described her nine year experience with an organic chemistry REU in Thailand. Students are spread over three Universities in Thailand. A specific need is to broaden the pool of applicants. Sherine Obare from Western Michigan University exposes students to the Brazilian culture and the study of nanomaterials. Her students follow the five E’s (engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate). Michael Sponslor of Syracuse University described a two-way USA/Austria exchange program that is in its sixth summer. Females and minority students were well represented. Lijiang Hu from Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT), China, described the incentives for faculty to make a professional visit to HIT. These visits would include both cultural and scientific exposure.

Kenneth B. Wagener of the University of Florida (UF) developed study abroad research opportunities for graduate students to conduct macromolecular science research for an extended period abroad. The alliances are with the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Germany, ETH in Switzerland, Kyoto University in Japan and National University of Singapore. UF is likely the first the offer a study abroad research experience for graduate students. Ivo Leito of the Institute of Tartu, Estonia described a summer program on measurement science held at different venues each year for Master’s students from a consortium of Universities in Europe. Josef Michl from the University of Colorado described a NSF funded program for graduate students to be exchanged between the USA and Czechoslovakia. The USA students appreciated the foreign culture and were able to improvise more upon their return. Morton Hoffman from Boston University (BU) described how science students can study abroad in their sophomore year and take required courses such as Organic I, Cell Biology and Statistics all in English and receive BU credit either in Dresden or Grenoble. In addition, students may elect to take “Introduction to Scientific Research” and spend six weeks conducting real research in a research group. Daniela Tapu of Kennesaw State University (KSU) described the “Get Global” initiative and the creation of a new chemistry course entitled “Chemistry and Culture”. Two study abroad trips are planned for May; one is going to Germany and the other to Puerto Rico. Tomas Baer from the University of North Carolina (UNC) made two presentations. The first one described taking students to Seville, Spain for six weeks and an instructor from UNC taught Organic Chemistry II. Students were also living with a host family and took an advanced Spanish Course. The second presentation described the Transatlantic Science Student Exchange Program (TASSEP) program. Students take their normal junior chemistry year in the language of the host country. This works at UNC since students are required to have competency in a second language. This symposium provided ample evidence that a study abroad in chemistry is feasible for undergraduates, graduates, post-docs and faculty.


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