327 Educating the Next Generation of Globally Engaged Researchers: ACS and the Role of Summer International Research Programs

Thursday, November 5, 2009: 1:40 PM
Charolais (Camino Real Hotel)
Lourdes E. Echegoyen , Office of International Activities, American Chemical Society, Washington, DC
The constraints presented by tight curricula are preventing most chemical sciences majors from taking advantage of study abroad programs. Broadening of international horizons, while sharpening scientific skills, can still take place as efficiently when undergraduate students conduct summer research projects in international laboratories. The ACS International Research Experiences for Undergraduates (ACS-IREU) exchange program provides such opportunities for US and European participants. Students spend 10-12 summer weeks at selected laboratories abroad conducting research projects of high current interest and potential for publication. During that period, they learn the art of international collaborations by working with a foreign team of scientists. At the same time, the young researchers get immersed in a foreign language and culture, gaining an invaluable life experience. As a side benefit, ACS provides students with a workshop on responsible conduct of research and trains them in professional communication skills.

This presentation will address some details of the program and the cultural, political and economic differences that must be overcome by everyone involved to achieve success. Benefits for undergraduates, their Ph.D. mentors and their faculty lab directors will also be discussed, along with the drive for expansion being fueled by recent testimonials from students and advisors.

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