A Look at the 2022 IES Abroad Faculty-Led STEM Award-Winning Program

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This year, we were thrilled to get Faculty-Led Award-Winning Programs off the ground (literally) and on-site! The IES Abroad Faculty-Led Program Awards provides funding towards outstanding STEM, language, and new for 2023, Global Pillars-focused faculty-led programs to run during the spring and summer terms. 

For the 2022 Faculty-Led STEM Program Award, Dr. Kyle Camarda, Associate Professor at the School of Engineering at the University of Kansas (KU) won with his proposal for “Logistics in Berlin: Optimization and the Cold War" taking place in Berlin, Germany

About the Program

The first faculty-led program that KU's School of Engineering has led in about five years and intended for sophomore-level engineering majors, the course “Logistics in Berlin: Optimization and the Cold War” aimed to teach both the mathematics of logistics, and an example historical context in which logistics was vital to success in geopolitics. The history of divided Berlin, 1945-1989, is a fascinating story of a “political island”: a city surrounded by a wall, maintained by Allied forces and constrained by the Soviet Empire. The Allies only were able to access West Berlin through three narrow corridors, by land and by air, and so the logistics of supply became paramount to the continued Allied presence there. This class taught the mathematics behind optimal supply chains, scheduling and planning strategies, and constrained logistics, which military and civilian planners used to keep the population of Berlin supported and independent of East Germany. Mathematical topics included linear and nonlinear programming, formulation of scheduling and planning problems, and discrete structures. The course included visits to many Berlin-area sites connected to the Cold War period, including Checkpoint Charlie, Potsdam and the “Bridge of Spies”, the Berlin Wall Memorial, and Gatow airport, used in the famous Berlin Airlift. 

KU in Aktion

Pictured below from left to right, KU students climbed to a former spy station on the top of a mountain in West Berlin; took in the Alexanderplatz and its iconic TV Tower, showpieces of former East Germany, now in the central district of Berlin; and learned about the Berlin Airlift, from inside a British transport plane (!) actually used during the airlift in 1949. 

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Dr. Camarda

About Faculty Leader Dr. Camarda

Dr. Kyle Camarda earned his Master's & Doctoral Degrees in Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Camarda's research focuses mainly on the use of high-performance computers to solve optimization problems in product design, process design and bioinformatics. In the search for new pharmaceuticals, polymers, or fuel additives, the traditional trial-and-error approach is being supplanted by a new technique which uses computers to suggest compounds which are promising before any synthesis or testing is performed. He is also interested in integrating chemical engineering tools, such as process simulators, within Access Grid technology to allow for multisite, multiuser design research.

Dr. Camarda joined as an Honors Faculty Fellow in the Spring 2021 semester.

“Students enjoyed the combination of engineering and historical topics, and learned how mathematics can be applied to real-world problems like feeding a city surrounded by a wall. The excursions to Cold War sites were enlightening, and students were also able to take in all that Berlin has to offer.”
Dr. Kyle Camarda • Associate Professor of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering at University of Kansas

Thank you to everyone who submitted their thoughtful and innovative program ideas to the Faculty-Led Program Awards. Learn more about our Customized and Faculty-Led Programs or connect with a Customized Program Manager to get started on your own faculty-led study abroad program!

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