100,000 Strong in the Americas supports innovative Rice OEDK effort
Rice University and Brazil’s Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS) will establish a student-exchange program focused on engineering design, thanks to a grant awarded March 13 by the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund.
The fund is a joint effort by the State Department, corporate and private partners to increase to 100,000 by 2020 the annual number of both U.S. students studying in Latin America and the Caribbean and foreign students from the Western Hemisphere studying in the U.S.
The Rice-PUCRS partnership was one of seven educational exchange partnerships awarded innovation funding by 100,000 Strong in the Americas this week. The new partnerships are among more than two dozen funded by 100,000 Strong since 2014 with support from ExxonMobil Corp.
Rice’s Maria Oden, professor in the practice of engineering education and director of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK), and OEDK Lecturer Matthew Wettergreen will lead Rice’s efforts on the new exchange. The program will allow students from both Rice and PUCRS to collaborate on real-world engineering design challenges that are proposed by industry and community partners and to learn to work in an international engineering environment.
Located in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state, PUCRS has more than 30,000 students and is consistently ranked among Brazil’s best private universities.
The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is a public-private sector collaboration among the State Department, Partners of the Americas, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, corporations, foundations, U.S. embassies and universities. The partnerships it has helped establish between 24 U.S. universities and community colleges in 16 U.S. states and 28 higher education institutions in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guyana and Mexico are intended to provide more dynamic exchange and training opportunities for students in engineering, physics, geology and geophysics.