The Transatlantic Friendship and Mobility Initiative Grant

   Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa, the professor and Associate Vice Chancellor for International Programs at Appalachian State University received a grant that enables Appalachian’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students and faculty members to conduct summer research at the University of Angers, in France. Funding was provided through The U.S. Department of State Transatlantic Friendship and Mobility Initiative with matching funds from Appalachian State University’s Global Learning Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Initiatives.

    This grant serves two purposes: First, they allow STEM students the opportunity to conduct research abroad providing them with an opportunity to learn essential cross-cultural skills while conducting research in the STEM fields; Second, they provide faculty an opportunity to travel abroad and supervise student research. According to Lutabingwa, “projects proposed must address analyzing an issue from multiple cultural perspectives or investigate moral/ethical questions associated with different cultures.” By diversifying the learning environment, students will be better prepared for working in an ever increasing globalized society.

    Dr. Lutabingwa found the opportunity particularly rewarding for faculty members and commented that, “it is often difficult for science faculty to justify an investment of time in education abroad programs because it often does not fit with their teaching and research possibilities.” However, with the Transatlantic Friendship and Mobility Initiative faculty will be able to coordinate their research with students enhancing their learning by developing multicultural skills throughout the research process abroad.

    It is Dr. Lutabingwa’s sincerest hope that this funding opportunity will continue to increase study abroad opportunities for both faculty and students in the STEM departments at Appalachian State University beginning with The University of Angers. 

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