New Global Science and Engineering Program
Studying science or engineering, learning a language, and interning abroad are just some of the perks to one of NAU’s newest programs. The Global Science and Engineering Program (GSEP) puts students on the fast track to becoming a globalized worker in their field.
Launched in fall 2011 by Dr. Eck Doerry, an associate professor of computer science and faculty coordinator of GSEP, the program aims to put together a workforce ready for international competition in a five-year program completion plan. By combining all majors in the College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences (CEFNS) with a selected language, students are able to obtain a bachelor’s degree in their field of choice as well as a dual language degree.
Doerry said this program is the most advanced of its kind because it encompasses all majors within the CEFNS. He explained that it will produce students who are in demand throughout the world, and who will be ready for global competition upon graduation.
“This is probably the most ambitious [program] nationwide,” Doerry said. “It’s a little scary because we’re doing it across the entire CEFNS, so any of those majors are eligible to be in the GSEP program. These are precisely the people we’ll need — [looking] at the more broad challenges facing our nation — engineers and scientists are in short supply and globally educated ones are [in] even [shorter] supply.”
Doerry explained that GSEP is an inclusive program that students must be committed to. It requires mandatory meetings and a full load of classes every semester.
“It’s designed specifically to be as inclusive as possible,” Doerry said. “What you do need is, of course, commitment to do it. It’s a certainly challenging track and you need to have a commitment to internationalization — and have a passion for that.”
He ultimately wants the program to prepare students for their dream job after graduation, both in the country and abroad. Therefore, because GSEP is unique and challenging, he hopes it will continue to attract astute students to NAU.
“I hope that they’ll have access to the full range of possible jobs that they could want, and that includes their dream job,” Doerry said. “This would prepare them [to go abroad] both linguistically, culturally, and academically. I hope that it will attract unusually bright and motivated students to NAU to do this.”
Another aspect of the GSEP program is the option students will have to live in NAU’s new International House (IH). Starting in fall 2012, international, American and GSEP students can live with others who share their interests in internationalization.
Mandy Hansen, the associate director for the Center of International Education, said the IH focuses on global learning and is a place for students to participate in intercultural communication.
“It’s centered [on] global learning,” Hansen said. “The International House is a place for international students and American students to learn from one another — learn about new cultures [and] participate in new programming that fosters cross cultural understanding.”
Hansen believes the IH will benefit GSEP students by allowing them to learn about other cultures and enhance their studies.
“This is important to GSEP in that it’s providing some of those opportunities, and learning about other cultures here on campus,” Hansen said. “I think that [with] the opportunity to be able to meet students from across the United States and around the world, there’ll be many opportunities and programming for those students to really meet one another, learn from one another, and really share about cultures.”
Kyle Crockett, a junior electrical engineering major, said in an email that he came across GSEP while researching study abroad programs. He said Doerry has been an inspiration for him in his future career endeavors.
“I stumbled across GSEP while looking into summer study abroad programs,” Crockett said. “It has been a delight working with a faculty adviser like Dr. Eck Doerry. His passion for international studies is contagious and was a huge factor in my decision to pursue this fledgling program.”
Although it takes a lot of hard work, Crockett believes the program will make him a valuable asset to whichever company he works for.
“My hope is that GSEP will allow me to achieve a lifelong goal of working in Germany,” Crocket said. There are many firms here in the U.S. that have ties to Europe. The skills that I gain in my year abroad will definitely make me a valuable asset to any such company. It is a lot of work and the payoff comes at the end.”