EECS Education Goes Global

The EECS-MISTI (MIT International Science & Technology Initiatives) Partnership has become a tremendous success with 74 students (62 undergraduates and 12 graduates) spending the summer in 9 countries. Most of the students are doing internships at companies such as BMW in Germany, Hitachi in Japan, Telephonica in Spain, and Lenovo in China. The recruiting events for students developed and coordinated by Sean Gilbert, EECS-MISTI Liaison, were one of the keys to success. They yielded a large pool of talented EECS students to fill numerous internship opportunities provided by the energetic MISTI staff. In addition to company internships, several of our students are participating in the MIT China Educational Technology Initiative (CETI) where our students teach short versions of subjects such as 6.001 at various universities using open courseware material. It is expected that these uniquely MIT-EECS global opportunities for our students will continue to grow.

EECS MISTI student Brandon Pung in China, summer 2008.

EECS MISTI student Brandon Pung in China, summer 2008.

VI-A International offers our students the opportunity to carry out a Masters of Engineering thesis project at VI-A company locations around the world. This year, of the seven students in this program, three are working on her/his thesis during the summer and fall term at Analog Devices, Shanghai and at Google and Microsoft Research in Beijing. The pilot phase of this program is now complete and the opportunities for our students to participate in VI-A International locations are rapidly expanding. We expect to have openings for students at VI-A companies in China, France, India, Ireland, Israel, and Japan in 2009.

One of the EECS International Strategic Group’s key recommendations was to develop a relationship with premier universities where younger faculty could spend a semester or year at MIT and be involved with the teaching team in one of our early undergraduate subjects as well as have the opportunity to start research projects with UROPs. An enhancement to this idea is to offer our EECS teaching assistants and undergraduates working with the visiting faculty an opportunity to return with them for a summer and/or semester to help transfer course material and complete the research projects. We are planning to pilot this program with the Indian Institute of Technology in the Kanpur and Madras campuses as well as research universities in Hong Kong and China.

Hong Kong currently provides an especially interesting opportunity since its university system is changing from a three- to four-year degree program to be compatible with the U.S. and mainland China. Major curriculum changes as well as a substantial increase in faculty are taking place over the next decade. Having EECS faculty work with the visiting faculty at MIT will demonstrate how team teaching and research can positively impact the education in Hong Kong. Students who work with the visitors as teaching assistants and/or undergraduate researchers will have a chance to transfer teaching methods and course material and/or work on research projects in Hong Kong and other parts of China for a summer or semester. Our students’ educations will be greatly enhanced by this global experience.

Charles G. Sodini
Chair, EECS International Group
LeBel Professor of Electrical Engineering
Principal Investigator at the Microsystems Technology Laboratories

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