University officials expect the GEAR UP initiative to establish long-standing partnerships between Howard engineering faculty and students and their counterparts at overseas institutions. The partnerships would facilitate student participation in international research projects.
“The global education of this generation of engineering students is essential, if not crucial, to meet engineering challenges and make the world a more technologically advanced, connected and sustainable place to live,” said Lorraine Fleming, Ph.D., professor of civil engineering and director of GEAR UP.
Fleming noted that the Institute for International Educations estimates that only 4.7 percent of engineering graduates have had study abroad experiences. For African-American students, the percentage is even smaller.
GEAR UP seeks to narrow that gap, Fleming said, by improving the international preparation of Howard engineering students. She said the program would serve as a model for other institutions with similar goals.
The GEAR UP program is one of a number of initiatives at Howard that exemplify President Sidney A. Ribeau’s vision to expand the University’s international footprint. Others include study abroad programs in the College of Arts and Sciences and Chinese cultural exchange projects undertaking by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.