Engineering at Nebraska, Spring 2009
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Global Connections

For many, summer travel might include visiting area attractions, family or even a short trip abroad. For David Allen, dean of the College of Engineering, his summer included student trips and research to France, Sweden and Poland. And he wasn't through yet. In August, he and his wide headed to Scotland, where he presented and paper and enjoyed some vacation time.

Global Connections Led by Dean, FacultyNebraska Engineering's focus on providing study abroad opportunities for students and faculty has been enhanced by National Science Foundation International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) grants. The NSF's goal mirrors that of the UNL College of Engineering, to "educate a globallyengaged science and engineering workforce capable of performing in an international research environment in order to remain at the forefront of world science and technology. "

Beginning May 15, Allen and Dr. Terri Norton, assistant professor of construction engineering and management, accompanied 13 engineering students to Sweden, where they established research projects as part of an IRES grant. The group also spent three days in Stockholm, where they viewed the Vasa, the world's only surviving 17th-century ship that is displayed in a purposebuilt museum.

Allen then traversed to Poland, where along with Dr. Andy Nowak, professor of civil engineering, they signed a Ph.D. dual degree agreement with Warsaw University of Technology.

SingaporeIn late June, Allen met the students studying in Sweden in Paris, where they all met up with 19 additional Nebraska Engineering students in the midst of their tour of France, along with Dr. Mehrdad Negahban, associate professor of engineering mechanics. They embarked on what Allen termed a "week-long adventure through western France," including a visit to Normandy Beach. While in France, Allen also served as a visiting scientist at Ecole des Mines de Paris (School of Mines) in coordination with Dr. Anthony Bunsell, a faculty member in engineering mechanics, and two UNL graduate students.

For the past several years, the college has conducted trips to France, Greece, Brazil, Sweden, and China. The IRES grants and donations have allowed the college to provide additional funding for students to participate on the trips. In some cases, the trips begin with faculty-awarded IRES grants or FIPSE programs and then developed into larger study abroad opportunities for multiple students.

"We're trying to expand and grow these trips all the time," Allen noted. "The importance of students being globally aware is certainly a priority of ours."

"We also want to use these international programs to help kick start our reputation in other countries,"Allen said.

Allen said the college is considering adding a trip to Egypt during spring break along with its other international options. Dr. Ece Erdogmus, assistant professor of architectural engineering, is also planning a study trip to Italy.