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AUS joins Global Engineering Deans Council Virtual Internship Program
In an academic year like no other, engineering students at American University of Sharjah (AUS) will soon have the opportunity to intern virtually at universities around the world, working on research projects in a wide variety of engineering fields.
As a participant in the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC) Virtual Internship Program, AUS is eligible to host international engineering students to virtually intern at the university’s College of Engineering (CEN), and offer its own students the opportunity to intern with global universities on the principle of reciprocity.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has made a significant impact on engineering education, especially that certain aspects of the engineering curriculum such as laboratory classes and internships are not originally designed for online delivery. However, at AUS, we managed to become creative with how we teach our labs via video interactive sessions, and we fortified our virtual labs. Due to the pandemic, however, many employers cancelled their work-based experiences for students, such as internships,” said Dr. Sirin Tekinay, Dean of CEN at AUS.
With completing an internship part of CEN students’ degree requirements, these changes presented a new challenge that called for an alternative solution.
“AUS and all accredited engineering universities around the world list internships as a graduation requirement for their students. Some universities have chosen to delay their students’ graduation, but we want to honor the graduation dates of our students. So, as the Chair of the GEDC, I have put out a call to all constituents to offer, based on reciprocity, virtual internships to students from other universities. Traditionally, engineering internships have been about gaining professional experience in a professional environment. Students would mostly intern at local industries. However, another commonplace internship path that can be followed is interning with other universities to work on engineering research projects and usually gain international experience in the process. This path has been there in the US, Europe, Turkey and the UAE,” Dr. Tekinay said.
AUS students and others from around the world will soon be able to apply for virtual engineering internships in all fields by logging on to the GEDC or the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies (IFEES) website, www.gedcouncil.org. Each university participating in the Virtual Internship Program will post its projects, rules and requirements including duration of internship, number of hours required per week and other relevant information. Students will go through a competitive selection process.
Universities all across the globe have already joined the program, including, but not limited to, AUS, the member institutions of the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI), a number of Turkish universities, University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Illinois Institute of Technology, Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, as well as universities in the southern hemisphere such as Australia’s Monash University and Pontificia Universidad Católica of Chile. The complete list will be available by May 15, 2020.
“We are not only excited that our students will have the opportunity to enjoy international experiences but are also very happy to receive students from all around the world to intern with us. These internships will allow students from global universities to work on various projects individually and within teams, as well as introduce them to AUS and its graduate engineering programs,” said Dr. Tekinay.