Who says Science, Math and Engineering students can’t study abroad?
At IFE, a semester of research is tailored to a student’s requirements. From IFE’s vantage point, it seems that most biology majors speak French! But that is probably because those that do, flock to IFE as one of the few options where they can pursue science and research on one hand and language and culture on the other, all in the same intensive semester. And not only do they not fall behind in their science education, they even tend to find they got further ahead due to exposure to high level work and techniques in their field.
Too numerous to describe in detail, the experiences of science, math and engineering students at IFE do offer, however, some surprising data in the aggregate. Over the last seven semesters, 16 students in the Paris Field Study and Internship program – or more than 10% of total enrollment – have been majors in biology, biochemistry, public health, engineering, computer science, physics, civil engineering or clinical psychology. Eleven chose to pursue research in a laboratory setting, joining the scientific staff at institutes like the Center for Biomedicine at the College de France, the Neuroscience Institute of the Pierre and Marie Curie University (Paris), the Curie Institute, INSERM (French national research institute for biomedicine), the Space and Astrophysics Institute of the University of Paris/Orsay, and others. Alternatively, computer scientists and engineers have chosen to work in the private sector, epidemiologists in public health agencies and research centers, and pre-med students in social medicine or international organizations. Some have used this opportunity to combine interests: plants and math, biology and environmental studies, medicine and literature, public health and anthropology.
Often, IFE has arranged laboratory placement prior to a student’s departure from campus so that home science departments can sign off on the laboratory, the scientists with whom their student will be working, and the nature of the project. Similarly, IFE works with students well upstream, and their academic advisors, to ensure that a student’s placement and research will dovetail with their academic requirements and bear credit for their major, if desired.
For students who speak French, IFE speaks science and math!