Student Association

SU Abroad official discusses increasing programs for students in STEM fields at SA meeting

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SA President Aysha Seedat updated the SA assembly on the undergraduate research program at SA's Monday night meeting.

The Syracuse University Abroad office is attempting to increase the number of abroad programs geared toward students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Student Association members discussed that process with SU Abroad Recruitment Specialist Briana Rinaldo at SA’s Monday night meeting in Maxwell Auditorium. Assembly members also went over the undergraduate research program, the Orange Education Program and the recent voting approval of a director of diversity affairs position.

Rinaldo said on Monday that while 90 percent of students come to SU with the desire to study abroad, fewer than 90 percent of students actually end up studying abroad. Rinaldo attributed this to certain roadblocks that come up and said that SU Abroad is doing a number of things to combat those roadblocks, including increasing the number of programs geared toward STEM students.

SA Vice President Jane Hong said she was pleased that the position of student director of diversity affairs, which SU students were able to vote for or against on MySlice last week, was approved by voters. Hong said that the next step will be to establish a written description of what the job would entail.

“This is a very flexible description that we are trying to flesh out,” Hong said. “This is new territory for us so we’re really trying to figure out what would work best with our population. But that’s really going to flow with the mistakes or with the successes that we have with this position.”

Hong also said that SU Chancellor Kent Syverud said he intends to accomplish all of the short-term recommendations put forth by the Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion by December 2016.

Additionally, SA President Aysha Seedat spoke more about the undergraduate research program. The deadline to apply for the program has been extended to Friday.

Seedat said that there is now $25,000 being allocated toward the initiative, up from the $20,000 of what SA had originally planned. She added that no undergraduate students will be reviewing the applications. The Office of Research will be bringing in faculty members to review all of the applications so that information of the applicants can be kept confidential.

Students applying for the grants need to be on campus during the summer and cannot have an already-funded research grant through another department or through the government, Seedat said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Assemblywoman Madeleine Fitzgerald discussed the recent approval of the Orange Education Program, a pilot program that SA’s Academic Affairs Committee has worked to establish with the College of Arts and Sciences.

Fitzgerald said that upperclassmen, sponsored by a professor, will be able to give 15-20 minute lectures via a portal through the program. The students will be able to lecture on whatever subject they want, Fitzgerald said. The pilot will be run through the First-Year Forum.

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