U.S. exchange program will host 16 Middle Eastern women with advanced degrees in research labs in southeastern Michigan, in collaboration with UM-Dearborn College of Engineering and Computer Science

September 29, 2008

DEARBORN / Sept. 29, 2008---Sixteen Arab women with advanced degrees in science and technology will spend eight weeks working in southeastern Michigan research laboratories through a project organized by the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s College of Engineering and Computer Science.

The program is being supported by a $350,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State‘s Office of Citizen Exchanges, as part of UM-Dearborn’s Henry W. Patton Center for Engineering Education and Practice.

“The main objective of this program is to provide young Arab women in the professional fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with a fellowship that will not only enhance their technical training but also familiarize them with the research environment in the U.S,” according to John Cristiano, director of the UM-Dearborn center. “The long-term goal is to establish a sustainable network of relationships not only with their American mentors but also among participants.

“The mission of HP-CEEP is to be a leader in incorporating engineering practice, at all levels of engineering education, by integrating the teaching environment with the world of practice” Cristiano said. “This program provides a unique opportunity to leverage our talented and diverse faculty to extend the mission of the center internationally by combining the professional development of participants with the building of long-term, collaborative relationships.”

The program will recruit participants from countries in the Middle East and North Africa, including Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, West Bank / Gaza, and Yemen.

The women selected for the program will spend two months working with researchers at UM-Dearborn and in local high technology companies.

“During their stay the women will split their time between enhancing their technical education through university courses and working on research projects in their area of expertise at their host company,” said Barbara Peitsch, the project manager for UM-Dearborn. “The goal is to establish a relationship for each participant with a faculty member or industry mentor.”

After the women complete the fellowships, they will be engaged in follow-up programs in their home countries, including continuing engagement with their American mentors. “The final phase is to sustain the relationships built during their fellowships both between the participants and with their community, industry, and university mentors,” Peitsch said.

UM-Dearborn is partnering with the Arab American Women’s Business Council (AAWBC) and the Detroit Regional Chamber to implement this project. “Our local partners are key to the success of the program,” according to Peitsch. “Working with the AAWBC and the Detroit Regional Chamber will ensure that these women have strong job placements and that they are comfortable culturally and socially.”

For further information about the project, contact John Cristiano, cristiano@umich.edu, phone 313-593-0941 or Barbara Peitsch, bpeitsch@umich.edu, phone 313-593-5086.




CONTACT: Terry Gallagher
PHONE: 313-593-5518
The Office of University Relations
Room 1040, Administration Building
University of Michigan-Dearborn