Cleared for Journey – Journal

This spring, Kenya Barnes spent her free time exploring Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Prague with…

Cleared for Journey – Journal
This spring, Kenya Barnes spent her free time exploring Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Prague with pals from Germany, Britain, and Austria. Throughout the week, when she was not engaged on her analysis at Europe’s most revolutionary college, she would bicycle round her adopted hometown of Leuven, Belgium. “I wished to see the whole lot,” stated Barnes, a junior from Pensacola, Florida, who’s majoring in neuroscience at UAB.

Barnes is a part of the primary group of Blazers to go overseas since UAB reopened for worldwide journey in January 2022. Even with no pandemic, nevertheless, she had questioned whether or not her academically demanding main would permit her to spend a semester away from UAB. Barnes plans to go to medical faculty and turn out to be a surgeon. “I used to be at all times concerned with research overseas; however when you’re pre-med, there should not a whole lot of choices,” she stated. “Most medical colleges wish to see home programs in your transcript, so I wasn’t certain I’d get the chance.”

The chance got here by means of NeuroScholars, a brand new program particularly for college kids in UAB’s Undergraduate Neuroscience Program. Barnes and one different scholar had been this system’s pioneers within the spring 2022 semester. Developed by UNP program co-director Cristin Gavin, Ph.D., and Ashley Neyer, director of UAB Training Overseas, NeuroScholars provides college students the prospect to work in a neuroscience lab in one among a number of European international locations.

Previously few years, the Training Overseas workplace has “added choices in order that 95 % of our majors” can make the most of the life-changing expertise of research overseas, Neyer stated. “There are applications that we’ve to work creatively with, however one thing is accessible for each scholar.”

For Barnes, the expertise was transformative. “It undoubtedly modified me,” she stated. “It made me notice how a lot larger the world is and made me stronger. It gave me the boldness that I can go wherever and achieve success, throughout a continent or throughout the globe.”

Cleared for Journey – Journal

Main progress, pre- and post-pandemic

Within the 5 years earlier than the pandemic halted worldwide journey in spring 2020, Training Overseas had elevated the annual variety of collaborating college students by 59 % — from 158 within the 2014-2015 educational 12 months to 252 in 2019-2020. Throughout the pandemic, “we nonetheless did worldwide actions, particularly distant internships,” Neyer stated. Now that journey has resumed, “we’re actually again to regular,” she stated. “We’re advising extra college students than we’ve ever had. And we’re specializing in progress post-closure.”

Development means each growing the general variety of Blazers making the most of research overseas alternatives and growing participation from underrepresented teams. Nationally, Black college students made up 13.3 % of U.S. postsecondary enrollment within the 2019-2020 educational 12 months, however solely 5.5 % of U.S. college students finding out overseas. At UAB, the place Black college students made up 20.9 % of enrollment in that very same interval, they accounted for 19 % of scholars finding out overseas.
“One can by no means underestimate the worth and significance of cross-cultural studying,” stated Majd Zayzafoon, M.D., Ph.D., affiliate provost for Worldwide Training and assistant dean of Worldwide Medical Training within the Heersink Faculty of Drugs. “UAB acknowledges that the alternatives overseas will without end influence college students’ lives and make a distinction in our world group. That’s the reason the prioritization of diversified applications and cost-affordable avenues that Training Overseas has created are so necessary. When the world is a scholar’s classroom, they’ll acquire an unparalleled training.”

Though the applications provided by Training Overseas are continually being evaluated and improved, “proper earlier than the pandemic, we had began on an in depth portfolio evaluation,” Neyer stated. “In 2020, all our applications underwent an evaluation to verify they had been assembly completely different wants and views.”

That evaluation concerned three overarching questions, Neyer stated: “Are the programs accessible — that’s, are we assembly all majors on campus? Is the expertise accessible financially, to satisfy college students in any respect monetary ranges? And is it accessible by way of id — are we ensuring that every one college students really feel protected and represented?”

The analysis led to a number of new applications and the growth of initiatives begun earlier than the pandemic. Neyer highlights 5 ways in which Training Overseas and its campus companions are reaching a bigger, extra various scholar viewers than ever.

1. New applications for particular audiences

The NeuroScholars program that took Barnes to Belgium is one instance of what Neyer calls “signature applications.” These are “concerted efforts to develop applications for particular audiences,” she stated. “We’re continually on the lookout for how we will meet these completely different segments of campus.”

With NeuroScholars, “Dr. Gavin wished a analysis alternative for our neuroscience college students” that may permit them to satisfy the UNP’s lab-experience requirement whereas having the chance to spend time overseas, Neyer stated. “That could be a massive uncertainty for all college students contemplating research overseas: how a course will switch again. College students in UNP now have a gateway to place this of their four-year plan.”

The primary signature program from Training Overseas was UAB in Wales, which permits college students to spend the spring semester at Aberystwyth College on the west coast of the UK. Greater than 150 programs from Aberystwyth’s course catalog are pre-approved to hold over for UAB credit score, and a UAB consultant accompanies the group to Wales. “That is distinctive — a hybrid between faculty-led applications and a semester overseas,” Neyer stated. The price contains housing and a three-day tour in London. Recognizing the significance of an inexpensive expertise and the robust connection between Birmingham, Alabama, and Wales, Worldwide Medical Training established a scholarship fund for UAB in Wales individuals — providing $55,000 every year for 3 years. Awards vary from $3,000-$5,000 and construct upon monetary support and different scholarships college students might obtain for finding out overseas.

Photo: Arielle Griffin.Arielle Griffin (left) and Tena Rosenblum (proper) by the ocean in Aberystwyth throughout their UAB in Wales semester overseas in spring 2022.

Arielle Griffin, a biomedical engineering main from Boone, North Carolina, spent the spring semester of her sophomore 12 months at Aberystwyth. She prolonged her time overseas with an Worldwide Analysis Expertise for College students journey to Łódź, Poland, led by Division of Physics Professor Andrei Stanishevsky, Ph.D., in June, the place she did nanofiber analysis.

“I’ve wished to do research overseas since I used to be in highschool; however with transferring after which the COVID pandemic, I couldn’t go my first 12 months at UAB, and afterward I figured I most likely wouldn’t be capable of research overseas in any respect,” Griffin stated. “However then I noticed the UAB in Wales program marketed within the undergraduate analysis publication and thought it regarded like an important alternative, and I knew for sure that I’d be capable of really go overseas.”

Griffin took lessons in linear algebra, immunology and German at Aberystwyth, and loved spending fairly a little bit of time on the town, alongside the seaside (the college is positioned on the Irish Coastline), and exploring in Wales and throughout the English border. “I loved exploring being overseas and the truth that I may keep on monitor with my research,” she stated. “It was a very nice expertise. I’ve turn out to be extra impartial since I’ve been overseas. I modified extra as an individual in these few months than in a 12 months at residence.”

One other signature program is being developed in collaboration with UAB’s TRIO Tutorial Providers program. TRIO gives intensive help to college students, together with tutoring and enrichment. This system will alternate semesters in Spain and Costa Rica and embrace residence stays and cultural immersion journeys. A UAB TRIO Tutorial Providers staff member will accompany college students for the primary week of this system to help with program adjustment. “That is a world expertise that’s cost-affordable, language-immersive and designed to maximise scholarship success for our TRIO college students,” Neyer stated.

2. Expanded funding

Scholarship funding is a crucial side to decreasing obstacles to check overseas. In 2018, UAB President Ray Watts issued a match problem to donors, leading to $90,000 in scholarship funding within the 2019-2020 faculty 12 months. “We’re heading in the right direction for $95,000 this educational 12 months,” Neyer stated. Funds can be found for graduate college students, who should not eligible for a lot of exterior scholarships for research overseas, she says.

One donor is Lydia C. Cheney, who earned a grasp’s diploma in well being training from UAB and was a college employees member for 19 years. She skilled the life-changing prospects of journey throughout her personal research overseas journey to France as an undergraduate at Birmingham-Southern Faculty in 1970. “The journey modified a whole lot of lives,” Cheney stated in a UAB article. “To at the present time, seven or eight of the core group of scholars keep in contact. One scholar who went on the journey named his youngster after the historical past professor who led the group.” Cheney’s reward created the Lydia C. Cheney Endowed Assist Fund for Training Overseas, which gives as much as $1,000 towards tuition and charges for undergraduates.
To assist college students maximize their possibilities of discovering and profitable exterior help, Training Overseas has partnered with Michelle Cook dinner, Ph.D., director of the UAB Workplace of Nationwide and Worldwide Fellowships and Scholarships. “We’ve got labored along with her to foster a relationship that helps college students by means of the Benjamin A. Gilman Worldwide Scholarship Program,” Neyer stated. Gilman scholarships, awarded by the U.S. Division of State, help undergraduates from various backgrounds with as much as $5,000 towards research overseas prices. In September 2022, 9 UAB college students had been chosen, the most important cohort of recipients from UAB in a single software cycle. UAB was acknowledged by the Division of State as one of many U.S. schools and universities that despatched essentially the most students overseas by means of the Gilman program throughout educational 12 months 2020-21.

“Dr. Cook dinner is wonderful in serving to college students craft their essays and mentoring them all through the applying course of,” Neyer stated.

3. Reaching extra college

In 2019, Training Overseas began the College Fellows program, which gives an avenue for college to design a brand new course or to switch an current course to incorporate a faculty-led training overseas part. (In UAB’s new Blazer Core curriculum, programs that embrace a research overseas part obtain a flag that designates them as a high-impact apply.) This system features a $1,500 stipend for individuals, and is supported by means of an IDEAS grant to UAB from the Division of State.
“Examine overseas is so necessary to increased training going ahead, as a result of it provides the chance to interact our college students as world residents,” stated Mary Ann Bodine Al-Sharif, Ph.D., assistant professor within the Faculty of Training, who was a member of the 2021-2022 cohort of College Fellows. Bodine Al-Sharif, who serves as program coordinator for UAB’s on-line grasp’s program in Greater Training Administration, developed an revolutionary option to permit on-line college students to learn from research overseas: UAB’s first formal digital faculty-led program. This fall, college students may have the chance to take World Views in Greater Training Management in collaboration with the Institute of Examine Overseas Eire. “Many establishments are creating sister establishments overseas for analysis and training partnerships,” Bodine Al-Sharif stated. “Our college students will study that course of and the significance of a lot of these partnerships to the way forward for increased training.”

4. Tapping into worldwide internships

“Worldwide internships have been probably the most well-liked progress areas” amongst college students, significantly within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Collat Faculty of Enterprise, Neyer stated. These internships are typically unpaid due to visa necessities, however typically carry the potential for educational credit score and are eligible for monetary support. Training Overseas has labored with the UAB Profession Heart to let college students find out about these alternatives and embrace them within the Profession Heart’s coaching modules.

“We provided worldwide internships earlier than the pandemic, after which they went digital,” Neyer stated. In spring 2021, legal justice main April Alvarez was one among a number of UAB college students who labored just about with employees at Clinica Verde in Boaco, Nicaragua. The clinic gives psychological well being interventions and well being training. Along with interacting with clinic employees, Alvarez labored on a community-driven venture to help growth of the clinic’s providers. The partnership was established by means of Majd Zayzafoon’s work with Clinica Verde over time. Worldwide Medical Training supported this initiative with funding that decreased program charges to tuition solely, with the purpose of making a sustainable, long-term partnership with Clinica Verde.

Along with Nicaragua, college students accomplished distant internships in Spain, the Dominican Republic and Kenya through the pandemic. Since journey has resumed, “we’re in a position to provide worldwide internships in individual or just about with corporations worldwide,” Neyer stated. “They’re personalized for every scholar based mostly on the coed’s skilled objectives, after which we discover a firm that matches these objectives.”

5. Passport applications

This spring, UAB acquired a grant from the Institute of Worldwide Training’s American Passport Undertaking that may pay for the complete price of passports — together with picture — for 120 Pell-eligible U.S. college students. The present prices for a passport, following an increase in charges in late 2021, is $165, plus $12.99 for the image, Neyer says.

“The passport is the very first thing {that a} scholar wants, six to eight months upfront of going overseas due to visa necessities,” Neyer stated. “However these prices can’t be wrapped into monetary support for the research overseas semester. That’s the place this grant can actually help college students in accessing a world expertise.”

In two earlier passport applications, UAB has enabled 75 college students to get their passports. “Within the first cohort, there have been 50 college students, and 23 % studied overseas the subsequent semester,” Neyer stated. “It actually confirmed us that, if we will take away that burden, we will open up alternatives for every scholar.”

High abroad locations, 2019-2020

  • United Kingdom
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • South Africa
  • Ecuador
  • Denmark
  • Bahamas
  • Costa Rica
  • Guatemala

High majors finding out overseas, 2019-2020

  • Public Well being
  • Psychology
  • Occupational Remedy
  • Worldwide Research
  • Biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Accounting
  • English
  • Well being Care Administration
  • Political Science
  • International Languages
  • Social Work
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Industrial Distribution

College perspective: Mary Ann Bodine Al-Sharif, Ph.D.

Assistant professor, Division of Human Research, program coordinator of M.S. in Greater Training Administration program

How can on-line applications prolong the advantages of research overseas to their college students? Bodine Al-Sharif created an revolutionary reply to that query as a member of the 2021-2022 cohort of College Fellows in Training Overseas. “My college students aren’t simply in Birmingham — they’re in Arizona, Florida, Tennessee and past, working in mid-level roles as skilled practitioners and college with household tasks,” she stated. “I wished to create a possibility for them to have a research away expertise and nonetheless keep their full-time work positions with out having to take trip or spend time away from household.”

Bodine Al-Sharif is collaborating with Niamh Hamill, Ph.D., director of the Institute of Examine Overseas Eire, for a fall 2022 course that parallels the Irish civil rights motion with the U.S. civil rights motion and the influence felt by increased training administration in each international locations. “Our program has a robust social justice focus,” Bodine Al-Sharif stated. “College students will go on tour in several areas and locations by means of their work with the Irish institute, studying about Irish tradition, folklore and custom. They are going to examine and distinction the civil rights motion in the US with the civil rights marketing campaign in Eire, which regarded to the U.S. as a mannequin. We may also research world educational revolutions and the historic position of ladies in increased training in Eire, in addition to the tutorial buildings that maintain energy and affect decision-making within the nation.”

Bodine Al-Sharif is utilizing her College Fellows stipend to cut back the price of attendance for college kids. “Proper now, they may get this expertise for a similar price as enrolling in a daily on-line course,” she stated. And that have ought to show invaluable to their future careers, she provides.

Scholar perspective: Tanner Caton

Photo: Tanner Caton posing for a photoTanner Caton posing for a photograph.

Caton, a junior majoring in neuroscience and Spanish, traveled to Alicante, Spain, in spring 2022 for a language immersion program on the College of Alicante.

What was your program like?

“I stayed with a household. All of us who had residence households had very distinctive experiences. I actually favored it, however you could bear in mind that you’re staying with somebody with completely different customs and expectations.

“I took a sequence of Spanish lessons on the College of Alicante. I rode the prepare to highschool every day — a 20-minute journey. I used to be the one UAB scholar there. In each of my lessons, I used to be both the one American or one among two People. There have been Japanese college students, Russians, Canadians — folks from throughout.”

Did you do any touring throughout your research overseas semester?

“We went to Madrid and Valencia; however my favourite locations to go to had been the smaller cities round Alicante, locations like La Vila Joiosa. I wished to talk Spanish on a regular basis. In huge cities like Valencia, after I would say one thing in Spanish, folks would typically reply me in English, as a result of they had been used to vacationers. Within the little cities, they had been excited to get a customer and I may apply my Spanish.”

Do you have got any recommendation for college kids finding out overseas?

“Know what you wish to get out of it. That applies to the whole lot, however particularly research overseas. You also needs to know you’re going to a unique tradition. I didn’t notice how a lot tradition I had, being from the South. I by no means considered it that manner, however the folks I met weren’t as open and talkative. That was an enormous shock. You must bear in mind that issues are going to be completely different, irrespective of how arduous you studied earlier than you left. There will likely be frustrations, however you may get previous them.”

Have been you interested by medication first, or Spanish?

“Spanish got here first. I used to be concerned with Spanish in highschool and thought I wished to be a lawyer — I like public talking. However then I began interested by medication, and I learn a stat that caught with me: Solely 7 % of physicians communicate Spanish, which may be very low in comparison with what number of Spanish audio system there are in the US.”

Do you’re feeling that research overseas modified you?

“Sure, I believe so. I’m a lot extra comfy in new settings now. This summer season, I’m taking lessons [at UAB] and all my pals are gone. That’s one thing that would have been anxiety-producing earlier than, however I’m making new pals. I actually do really feel that’s one thing from Spain.

“A little bit little bit of doubt creeps in when you’re away out of your research. I had some doubts about my pre-med monitor. It’s OK to have doubt. New experiences carry on new questions on your self. I ended up extra certain of my choice to do pre-med, however it has helped me to be extra conscious of why I’m doing it.”

Scholar perspective: Kenya Barnes

Photo: Kenya Barnes with friendKenya Barnes (proper) with pal.

Kenya Barnes, a junior majoring in neuroscience, was a NeuroScholar at KU (Katholieke Universiteit) Leuven in Leuven, Belgium, from February-June 2022. She labored with a analysis staff led by Professor Astrid van Wieringen, Ph.D., that has developed an app that helps folks with listening to impairment prepare their listening and communication abilities in a course of referred to as auditory rehabilitation. There are presently greater than 430 million folks worldwide with disabling listening to loss worldwide, a quantity that’s estimated to develop to greater than 700 million by 2050.

What was your program like?

“I took one ‘tradition’ course, and the remaining was full-time analysis at KU Leuven. I did a literature evaluation on the psychology of motivation for folks with listening to impairments. My job was to analysis how folks with disabilities see motivation and the way to enhance motivation to make use of the app.” [Her research noted the potential motivational power of goalsetting, rewards, competition, personalization and testimonials.]

“Due to COVID restrictions, being absolutely in a lab wasn’t doable. However I used to be in a position to shadow my P.I. [van Wieringen] for a number of days. Plenty of what they do may be very impartial. I received to see the completely different tasks they had been doing and see how in another way they do medication over there.”

Was this your first expertise with analysis?

“The summer season after my junior 12 months in highschool, I did analysis within the UAB Division of Surgical procedure by means of the PRISM [Pre-College Research Internship for Students from Minority Backgrounds] program. I labored with Dr. Brenessa Lindeman, an endocrine surgeon, finding out how completely different communities round Birmingham had been knowledgeable about well being care choices accessible at UAB for diabetes, weight problems and renal points. We had been in a position to write a manuscript, and it was revealed within the Journal of Surgical Analysis and I received to be a primary writer. That was a really cool feat in highschool. We additionally received to current our analysis on the Tutorial Surgical Congress. It made me wish to get entangled with analysis, and I additionally received to see the tradition that UAB cultivates firsthand. Regardless that I used to be in highschool, Dr. Lindeman and your complete staff handled me like I had concepts they believed in. That stated so much in regards to the tradition of UAB. To at the present time, I nonetheless speak to Dr. Lindeman.”

The place did you journey throughout your research overseas?

“I received to see Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Brussels, Antwerp — however not as a lot as I wished to. I wished to see the whole lot. The good factor is that Europe is all linked. I took the prepare for essentially the most half. I flew to Prague with pals.

“I stayed in a university-run ‘kot’ — that’s what they name a dorm. Primarily there have been worldwide college students on the Erasmus program. I had German, Austrian, British pals. There have been solely two of us UAB college students within the NeuroScholars program — the opposite scholar was at Leiden College within the Netherlands. We introduced our analysis halfway by means of this system, and I noticed him there.”

What was your favourite vacation spot?

“I actually loved Amsterdam, and Bruges in Belgium. However Leuven was my favourite. It has a gradual tempo however the vitality of a college city. You possibly can stroll from one aspect to the opposite in 20 minutes. It felt very protected and cozy. I had a motorcycle, and I biked in every single place.”

Do you’re feeling that research overseas modified you?

“Positively. I’d say it made me notice how a lot larger the world is. It made me turn out to be extra adaptable. And it made me stronger, figuring out I can go wherever and achieve success. I used to be in a position to go throughout the continent and the world over.”

Peer Ambassadors

These undergraduates, all alumni of the research overseas program at UAB, are sometimes the primary factors of contact with college students concerned with going abroad. “Our portfolio is huge,” Neyer stated. “Peer Ambassadors assist college students residence in on what’s most necessary to them: teachers, location, program options.” Crucially, the Ambassadors are paired with college students based mostly on their faculty or main.

Tanner Caton, a junior majoring in neuroscience and Spanish, traveled to Alicante, Spain, in spring 2022 for a language immersion program on the College of Alicante. “Once I had my first assembly with a Peer Ambassador, I used to be so overwhelmed as somebody who’s making an attempt to go to med faculty and meet these necessities whereas doing a semester overseas,” Caton stated. “I actually appreciated the Peer Ambassador who talked with me, answered a whole lot of questions, eased my anxiousness and made it look like this was doable.” Now, Caton is repaying that help by becoming a member of the Peer Ambassadors within the fall 2022 semester. “I beloved my research overseas expertise and I wish to assist others do this,” she stated.

Kenya Barnes, a junior neuroscience main who spent her spring 2022 semester at KU Leuven in Belgium by means of the NeuroScholars program, can also be going to be a Peer Ambassador this fall. “Being in pre-med, having fun with analysis, being Black and feminine, there have been a whole lot of issues I wished to share with different college students about research overseas,” Barnes stated. “I wish to encourage different college students with how accessible it truly is.”