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.

Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here:
Rock Chalk! Junior Ashlie Koehn named KU's 18th Truman Scholar
Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening.

RT @kulibraries : Check out this news feature & then check out his book with us: #KULibraries #KUWorks…
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.

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