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Rensselaer to Require All Engineering Students to Study Abroad

A new effort to internationalize American engineering education

2 min read

14 April 2008—The practice of engineering is now a global enterprise, but engineering education in the United States is still very much a domestic product. Few U.S. engineering students spend any significant time abroad during college, even though their eventual careers may require them to collaborate with international clients or co-workers, or even to work in other countries.

Those two dissonant facts have prompted Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, N.Y., to begin requiring all of its undergraduate engineering students to spend some time overseas. The new initiative, which may be a first for an American engineering program, will start up in spring 2009 and will be phased in over several years, says Alan Cramb, Rensselaer’s dean of engineering. For the inaugural semester of the Rensselaer Engineering Education Across Cultural Horizons (REACH) program, Cramb would like to see about 150 students participate, but eventually nearly all of the school’s 3200 engineering undergraduates will be expected to study overseas. ”Going forward, this is part of their education,” Cramb says.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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