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Innovative Program Increases Access to Study and Research Abroad

Students travel to Ireland, Argentina and Columbia in June to conduct research and service

Study abroad is an increasingly important high-impact experience for students preparing to work in a globalizing world—particularly for those entering academic and research careers. Yet students from minority and first-generation college backgrounds are less likely to participate in study abroad.
Recognizing this, DePaul has become a leading institution in making international education experiences more accessible to students.  Part of this effort has been through EMM’s TRIO McNair Scholars and Arnold L. Mitchem Fellows​ ​​ programs which provide academic support for low-income, first generation and minority students preparing for doctoral studies and faculty careers.  

For almost a decade, with additional funding support from EMM, nearly three-quarters of DePaul’s McNair graduates have participated in some form of study abroad.  

In addition to existing programs, McNair and Mitchem have also developed their own summer experiences focusing on group-based research in international settings. Three groups of students departed in June for the following countries for two- to three-week research abroad trips:
  • Ireland: Students will research socioeconomic barriers to graduate education access in Ireland at All Hallows College in Dublin, Ireland.
  • Argentina: Students will examine issues of discrimination and privilege in Argentina and the use of arts for community intervention at the University of Buenos Aires. 
  • Colombia: Students will study the impact of bicycling as a model for urban development, on citizen health and social capital, and will study Columbia’s higher education system at the Universidad Piloto de Colombia in Bogota.
The McNair and Mitchem international research experience is distinct from many traditional study abroad programs in its intensity, research focus and engagement with students and faculty at host institutions abroad.  Participants are exposed to international higher education settings and perspectives while simultaneously learning research skills and gaining experience that makes them more competitive candidates for graduate programs and for future graduate-level work.  

To date, McNair and Mitchem participants have benefitted from similar experiences at 11 universities in seven countries, including Argentina, the United Kingdom and Croatia. Since the inception of both programs at DePaul, 100 percent of McNair and Mitchem participants complete a summer research experience at DePaul, other U.S. universities or abroad, and more than 60 percent participate in study or research abroad at some point in their undergraduate careers.

Past research abroad experiences in Argentina have been profiled by DePaul Magazine. For more information, contact Luciano Berardi, director of the McNair Scholars and Arnold Mitchem Fellows program.