Winners of the 2023 IES Abroad Faculty-Led Program Awards

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IES Abroad
January 20, 2023
Students in front of Cathedral in Granada

This year, we launched the Faculty-Led Program Awards with an additional category following the IES Abroad Global Pillars, which are part of the Global Good Commitment. The IES Abroad Faculty-Led Program Awards provide funding towards outstanding STEM, language, and Global Pillars-focused faculty-led programs to run between May and July of 2023. The winning institutions receive $15,000, $10,000 or $5,000 for their study abroad programs run with IES Abroad. The winners were selected by a jury comprised of IES Abroad Academics department staff members. 

For the Faculty-Led STEM Program Award, two programs took home $10.000 awards: Bates College won their program idea in Santiago, Chile and Louisiana Tech University also earned a STEM Award for their program in Rome, Italy.

Lehigh University was the sole winner of $10,000 in our Language category with their program in Granada, Spain.

Rice University won  $10,000 in the Global Pillars category for their program in Barcelona, Spain and Pratt Institute won in the same category with a $5,000 reward for their program in Tokyo, Japan.

More from the Winners

STEM Program Award Winner: Bates College - IES Abroad Santiago

"Science, Public Health, and Humanistic Inquiry: Travel, Medicine and the COVID-19 Pandemic in Chile"

About the Faculty Leaders: 

T. Glen Lawson, Charles A. Dana Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, holds a Ph.D. from Purdue University. His field of research is Biochemistry, particularly with focuses on: Mechanisms and biological functions of the degradation of picornavirus proteins by the ubiquitin-mediated proteolytic system; Enzymology and turnover of viral proteases responsible for the processing of viral polyproteins; Messenger RNA structure and its role in the mechanism and regulation of translation in eukaryotic cells, particularly during viral infections.

Claudia Aburto Guzmán, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies, received her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.  In addition to language, she teaches courses on Latin American literatures and cultures from 19th century to the present, as well as translation courses. Since 2006 she has focused on human rights discourses and actions in and around the México – U.S. border.  She is a summer-time volunteer with the Tucson-based human rights group the Samaritans.

David R. George, Jr. received his PhD from the University of Minnesota in 2003, and has been Lecturer in Spanish at Bates College since 2000. In addition to language, he teaches courses on Spanish literature and film, Catalan culture, Iberian integration in Europe, and Hispano-Asian connections. David has published more than 25 articles and book chapters on a variety of aspects of nineteenth and twentieth-century Spanish literature, film and television, including on issues of cultural exchange and travel between Spain and Asia. He is co-editor of the volumes Historias de la pequeña pantalla. Representaciones históricas en la televisión de la España democrática (Iberoamericana 2009), and Televising Restoration Spain: History and Fiction in Twenty-First Century Costume Dramas (Palgrave-Macmillan 2018). He is also author of annotated editions of Leopoldo Ala’s Doña Berta (LinguaText 2008) and Benito Pérez Galdós’s Tormento (LinguaText 2012). His current research deals with the influence of Japanese culture in Spain from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century.

About the Program: The "Science, Public Health, and Humanistic Inquiry: Travel, Medicine and the COVID-19 Pandemic in Chile" Program is built upon a pedagogical model, designed to eliminate the artificial boundary between the natural sciences and the humanities, that was developed by Bates College professors Claudia Aburto Guzmán and T. Glen Lawson. This model was successfully applied in two previous programs based in Santiago, Chile. This proposed new program is designed to train students to recognize, observe, and analyze the interrelation between health science and the humanities as it unfolds in the public sphere. It offers parallel instruction in analytical methodologies particular to each discipline in order to interrogate the forces that generate and shape public health decisions, and the impact these have on cultural activities that involve a broad cross-section of the population. Through interrelated strategical pedagogical activities, it provides the opportunity for students to put into practice decision-making processes that forefront the tensioned relationship between human interests and human welfare. It also highlights the transformative potential of reflecting upon one’s home culture and institutions through a comparative lens. Lastly, the program purposefully engages the COVID-19 pandemic, providing the opportunity to reflect on the boundaries of science, the constraints within culture, individual responsibility vis à vis community, and the movement of peoples within and across international boundaries. To ensure the success of this program, it will again be located in Chile’s unique historical and cultural context. Chile’s robust scientific research enterprise and healthcare delivery infrastructure make for an appropriate site in which a comparative approach may be put into practice.

For the proposed 2023 iteration of the course, T. Glen Lawson of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and David George of the Department of Hispanic Studies will jointly conduct classroom instruction and discussions. Students will acquire a background in scientific problem-solving, coronavirus infection and replication, and the history of biomedical science, including vaccine development and pandemics, with a focus on Latin America. Collaborating researchers and healthcare providers at the Facultad de Medicina Universidad de Chile will engage with the students to discuss virus research conducted in Chile and the Chilean healthcare response to the pandemic. These experiences will be augmented by explorations of healthcare outside of Santiago, either through a visit to a rural health clinic and/or meeting with a physician who administers care to the Mapuche community.

The activities of traveling in the midst of a lingering global pandemic will be used to consider how encounters between travelers and "travelees," self and other, always involve dangers of contagion, infection, mutation, and variation. In tandem with issues pertaining to the sciences, as a framework for humanistic inquiry students will be asked to reflect on themselves as tourists and travelers, and their encounters with the host society as processes replicating figuratively and metaphorically the scientific concepts examined in the course. Through readings of narratives of travel about Chile and the Southern Cone, from the times of the Conquest to the present, and production of their own travelogs, students will engage the multiple perils of exposure, transmission, and mutation that constitute the fundamental attractions of travel.

“We greatly appreciate the grant awarded by IES Abroad for the courses to be taught in conjunction with Bates faculty. The current program, Science, Public Health & Humanistic Inquiry: Travel, Medicine, and COVID-19 in Chile, is part of a larger project designed to stimulate inquiry into the relationship between human welfare and human interests, using the methodologies of dissimilar disciplines. This grant also supports the internal structure of the project, which provides opportunities for the rotation of different faculty with unique perspectives into the program. We are grateful for this grant as it has made this third rotation possible.”
Their Take on the Program

STEM Program Award Winner: Louisiana Tech University - IES Abroad Rome

"Science & Society"

About the Faculty Leader:

Dr. Joel Stake is the Assistant Director of Honors and a Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at Louisiana Tech University. Dr. Stake obtained his Ph.D. in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and completed postdoctoral research at the University of the Virgin Islands. Dr. Stake taught undergraduate courses and conducted research on the evolution of Caribbean corals at a university in New Hampshire before focusing primarily on teaching when he joined the faculty at Louisiana Tech University.

About the Program: Current college students studying STEM fields in American universities are typically reintroduced to the scientific method as the way of acquiring new knowledge within their disciplines and then taught the skills necessary to obtain a job upon completion of their degree. These students are rarely provided the opportunity to explore the historical, philosophical, and religious context that has forged scientific thinking into its modern form. Therefore, they don’t see the connection between the science they learn in the classroom and the effects of that knowledge base on the world around them. Additionally, students rarely get the opportunity to practice communicating their scientific knowledge in practical ways to non-STEM focused audiences, so interview skills, pitches to clients, and the translation of science lingo to the average professional go underdeveloped.
This study abroad trip offers students the opportunity to participate in either of those opportunities. One course, called “Science and Society” is focused on helping students discover the context in which modern science arose and on helping students explore the contributions of Italian scholars, patron families, religious institutions, and universities to our modern understanding of science and medicine. We will explore the transition from thinking about an integral cosmos to a mechanistic view of the natural world. Classroom preparation will occur predeparture and experiential learning will occur through class-time and visits to historic sites, museums, and universities. Students hoping to study medicine after graduation will have a chance to experience the world’s oldest surviving anatomical theatre on a field trip to the Palazzo Bo and walk in the footprints of scientists and physicians that paved the way to our modern understanding of science and medicine.

The second course, called “Professional Communication” is focused on presenting complex information in a practical way through modern day medium. Students will learn how to translate their skills into attractive resumes and interview experiences, how to handle tough professional experiences like communicating to non-scientific audiences and communicating disappointing information to peers and authority figures, and how to communicate their passion for STEM through presentations and modern media. Experiential learning will occur through visits to the Colosseum and the Forum, which serve as the historic background for the Latin style of public speaking still used today. Cultural activities will be used to enhance the student’s understanding of presentations, as well as how to communicate effectively with other cultures.
We believe the combination of the social aspects of STEM along with the expertise of communicating scientific knowledge and coupled with the enhancement of hands-on cultural learning will greatly enhance the scholarly aspect of the STEM education for Louisiana Tech University.

Joel Stake Headshot
“Through our Faculty Led program we hope STEM students that have been taught the “scientific method” as the way of acquiring knowledge in science will be able to explore the cultural context that shaped this modern scientific thinking and learn how to communicate those ideas professionally.”
Joel's Take on the Program

Language Program Award Winner: Lehigh University - IES Abroad Granada


About the Faculty Leader: Assistant Professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies Lindsey Reuben's interests lie in modern and contemporary Spanish cultural production that span a breadth of critical points of reflection intersecting in urban studies, gender studies, and political theory. Her current book project preliminarily titled Unraveling Domesticity: Economies of the Home in Modern Spanish Literature focuses on roles of the home space throughout the uneven processes of Spanish modernization by questioning the public and private divide under which the home has traditionally been understood. Her recent book chapters and publications include "The City Unmapped: A Feminist Imagination of Urban Spaces in Javier Pérez Andújar's Paseos Con Mi Madre" (Gender in Spanish Urban Spaces, Ed. DiFrancesco & Ochoa, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), "The Violence of "Inclusive Exclusion" in Fernando León de Aranoa's Amador" (Bulletin of Spanish Studies, forthcoming) and "Aporias of manhood: Revisiting Nada beyond the feminine" (forthcoming).

Lindsey is thrilled to be part of the already vibrant Modern Languages and Literatures department. Prior to her Lehigh appointment, Lindsey completed her M.A. at Columbia University in 2011 and her Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. She has taught a wide-range of Spanish culture, literature and languages classes at UPenn and at Shippensburg University.

About the Program: "When asked to imagine the ideal place to bring university students who are interested in bettering their Spanish language skills and grasping the historical and cultural evolution of Spain, I can think of no better place than Granada. Nestled in a valley between the highest mountain peaks of the Iberian Peninsula, picturesque Granada is a wonder to behold. But Granada’s magic and charm go far beyond its purely aesthetic beauty. History of the Iberian peninsula is etched in hundreds of years of Granada’s architecture and culture, that is, way before Spain became a nation-state in 1492. For students of an array of fields that include the Spanish language, Spanish literatures, film, politics, and anthropology, Granada’s geography in sunny Southern Spain, and its proximity to many cities of cultural interest such as Córdoba, Málaga, Sevilla, and Tangier, truly make it an ideal city for students to study and recognize the heterogeneity of the histories, cultures, languages, politics, and peoples that have transformed Spain into what it is today.

The program, Lehigh-in-Granada, plans to engage students with Granada’s unique culture through coursework that will not only see the city through the excursions we will plan, but also as part of the classroom. For example, my proposed course “The Cultural Evolution of Spain,” will offer students an introduction into the web of relationships that exist between Spanish geography, history, culture and politics through conversations, readings, and cultural analysis that will take place in the city proper. Class on Al-Andalus will inherently take place in the Alhambra as well as in Albaicín. Class on the foundation of the modern nation state will venture into and around the cathedral. Furthermore, in studying our contemporary moment, students will benefit from this course being taught specifically in Granada for two specific reasons: the first is Granada’s complex multicultural diversity: it makes for an incredible city for students to contemplate complex and multi-layered notions of Spanishness. Secondly, the rise of the ultra-conservative political party, Vox, was facilitated, in part, by Southern Spanish discontent in and around this diversity. Questions such as “how does the city of Granada foment new and age-old understandings of a diverse Spain?” and “why is conservativism on the rise in Southern Spain today?” will be asked alongside readings of The Alhambra decree that narrated the Spanish Inquisition in 1492. In studying the contemporary political moment in Granada alongside narrations of the past, students will have the opportunity to engage with politics as a function of historical discontent and injustice and will be able to experience political change in the city where Spain entered into the map of modernity in the first place.

Finally, this program’s success will depend on the expertise of local professors and guides in Granada. I was recently lucky enough to visit IES Abroad in Granada and met with the wonderful group of professors and scholars whose work makes the program so vibrant. I very much look forward to having an IES Abroad language course offered as the second course of Lehigh-in-Granada’s program."

lindsey reuben headshot
“My students and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to study in a city whose histories and cultures speak to the complex web of identities that make up Spain today. We are so grateful to IES Abroad for the support and look forward to working with the IES Abroad teams, both in Granada and Chicago, as we move forward with our Lehigh-in-Granada Program.”
Lindsey's Take on the Program

Global Pillars Program Award Winner: Rice University - IES Abroad Barcelona

"Otros Mundos Posibles: Experiential Seminar on Economy, Social, And Environmental Justice In Cataluña, Spain"

About the Faculty Leader: Luis Duno-Gottberg specializes in Latin American and Caribbean culture from the nineteenth century to the present, with a particular emphasis on race and ethnicity, politics, and violence. His current book project, Dangerous People: Hegemony, Representation and Culture in Contemporary Venezuela, explores the relationship between popular mobilization, radical politics and political representation in Venezuela, while his pevious and ongoing work on “carceral communities” explores the daily life of prison communities, from Venezuela and Brazil to the Dominican Republic, as a specific bio-political order that also affects the wider civil society across Latin America. Additionally, Duno-Gottberg works on cinema in Venezuela and on the Haitian Revolution, and he also translated the first Haitian novel, Stella, from French first into English (2014) and then into Spanish (2016). He is regularly interviewed by newspapers from El Correo del Orinico in Venezuela to the Houston Chronicle, and he has also appeared on Univisíon

At Rice, Duno-Gottberg is a faculty scholar in the Baker Institute for Public Policy and serves as magister of Baker College. Previously, he was magister of Duncan College (2009-15) and won the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching twice in 2015 and 2017. He holds a PhD from the University of Virginia

About the Program: "Otros Mundos Posibles: Experiential Seminar on Economy, Social, And Environmental Justice In Cataluña, Spain" is a short and intensive seminar studies and implements the principles of the solidarity economy, as they are carried out today by a number of organizations in Catalonia, Spain. We offer a unique opportunity combining theory, practice and collaboration with diverse social organizations.

The concept of solidarity economy or solidarity economy is applied to numerous experiences in which production relations and forms of distribution, consumption and accumulation of wealth are redefined. In ethical terms, it is a proposal that mobilizes resources, economic relations and alternative values, incorporating the principle of solidarity and justice as the main axis in decision-making.

Far from the idea of homo oeconomicus, according to which we are selfish and individualistic beings by nature, what the history of humanity demonstrates is that without solidarity it would not have been possible to survive as a species.

Based on these principles, our students will live for two weeks in the city of Barcelona, receiving formal instruction and, likewise, interacting with various organizations devoted sustainability, equity and solidarity.

This course aligns clearly with the IES Abroad Global Pillars (Sustainable Living, Equitable Living, Human Well-Being).

This course is conceived as a collaboration between Rice University, IES Barcelona and Xarxa d’Economia Solidària de Catalunya – XES.

The "Solidarity Economy Network of Catalonia" (Xarxa d'Economia Solidària de Catalunya - XES) is an organization made up of more than 300 members, including entities and individuals. XES promotes an economic system that respects people and the environment and operates under democratic criteria of horizontality, transparency, equity and participation.

Our main objective is to experience and learn from the principles and the innovative strategies a solidarity, responsible economy. Participants will discuss foundational texts of the movement, and will participate in rotations in various social organizations that put these principles into practice.

Every morning, from Monday to Friday, a founding text of the solidarity economy movement will be discussed. Students will then attend a formal presentation on the different aspects and practices of this model:

  • Responsible banking.
  • Feminist economics and with a gender perspective.
  • Agroecology.
  • The movement for food sovereignty.
  • The social and solidarity economy.
  • Education, research, and the co-construction of public policies.

Finally, participants will collaborate with the organizational and productive processes of the organizations that make life within the Xarxa d'Economia Solidària de Catalunya - XES network.

On weekends, short trips will be organized to experience the culture and history of Catalonia, from the principles outlined within the seminar.

It is worth mentioning that transportation services and meals will be provided by cooperatives that function withing the principles of Economia Solidària. In this sense, the seminar will be enacting the lessons and principles its studies.

Luis d-g headshot
“This short seminar/workshop studies and implements the principles of the solidarity economy, as they are carried out today by a number of organizations in Catalonia, Spain. We offer a unique opportunity to combine theory, practice, and collaboration with diverse social organizations.”
Luis' Take on the Program

Global Pillars Program Award Winner: Pratt Institute - IES Abroad Tokyo

"Japan Summer Study Abroad"

About the Faculty Leader: Mr. Tetsu Ohara is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Design at the Pratt Institute. He has engaged in design projects in both the East & West spanning from product design, exhibition design, interior design, to architectural services. He is a principal designer at SpatialDesignStudio in NYC. As a FIPSE grant recipient, he serves as a coordinator for Sustainable Pratt (greenweek). Recently published project includes Japan Brand “Unfolding” exhibition with Japanese Ministry of Trade at Felissimo Design House.

About the Program: This summer study abroad course re-examines the idea of negotiated spaces in both private/publicdomains. This 3 week immersion course will explore social, environmental, cultural challenges fromthe non native point of views. The observations and analysis from these experiences in bothTokyo/Kyoto will be applied to provide design solution for global scale challenges aligned with theUnited Nation's Sustainable Development Goals.
This experience is structured in three parts. First the participants will GATHER information aboutJapanese culture/design/language and choose several research topics on this ephemeral culture inTokyo. During the stay in Tokyo/Kyoto, they will IMMERSE in series of experiences. And transformthose experiences into design proposals that will INSPIRE the world around them.

Tetsu Ohara
“"This program propels Pratt participants to develop critical thinking by immersing themselves in both the old/new, positive/negative, digital/analog world of Japan. By predicting/preparing for the future, we ask the question: How can design contribute to global challenges, reduce environmental impact and promote healthier mind/spirits? The participants will likely see the world differently after experiencing this intensive summer course."”
Tetsu's Take on the Program
students posing for a picture on a pier. in the background, there is a Ferris wheel and mountains.

Thank you to everyone who submitted their thoughtful and innovative program ideas this year! 

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