GRAND RAPIDS — Engineering and computing students at Grand Valley State University have a new opportunity to study abroad and intern at companies overseas through two new international partnerships.
Grand Valley’s Padnos College of Engineering and Computing has entered into international-education partnerships with the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland and the University of Cooperative Education, Mosbach in Germany. The partnerships encompass faculty, staff and student exchanges.
Joesph Iannelli, director of Grand Valley’s School of Engineering, said students who take advantage of these opportunities will become globally competent, which is vital for engineers and computing professionals when they enter the workforce.
“Both institutions are similar to Grand Valley because they integrate academic studies with professional practice and have close connections with local industry,” said Iannelli, who negotiated the agreements and serves as co-chair of Grand Valley’s Curriculum Internationalization sub-committee. “The interest in these two countries derives from the presence in West Michigan of more than 50 multinational companies, the majority of which are from Germany, and some from Austria and Switzerland.”
Iannelli said PCEC will continue to foster its new Industry-Sponsored Graduate Assistant program for international graduate students who come to Grand Valley. The program pairs students who are enrolled in the engineering master’s program with an international company that has offices in Grand Rapids, such as Autocam Automotive, Grand Rapids Chair Company and Shape Corp.
University of Cooperative Education, Mosbach has been a partner of the Seidman College of Business since 2006, so the agreement was expanded to include PCEC. Iannelli said six students from University of Cooperative Education, Mosbach have enrolled to attend Grand Valley in the fall, three Grand Valley students plan to complete internships in Germany, two Zurich University of Applied Sciences professors have completed sabbaticals at Grand Valley, and biomedical engineering professor Samhita Rhodes will spend a sabbatical semester at Zurich University of Applied Sciences.