Press Release

Study Abroad Awards for U.S. Women Engineering Students Presented by ABB and the Global Engineering Education Exchange

NEW YORK, September 17, 2002—ABB and the Global Engineering Education Exchange (Global E³) program announced four ABB-Global E³ scholarships for American women in engineering to study abroad during the fall 2002 semester.

The scholarships for 2002 were awarded to Julia Baumann of Rice University to study civil engineering in Hungary, Mary Catherine Hoffman of Drexel University to study biomedical engineering in Denmark, Molly Mitten of the University of Wisconsin, Madison to study mechanical engineering in Turkey and Fernanda Pompa of the University of Arizona, Tucson to study industrial engineering in France.

The scholarships help create a pool of well-trained "global engineers," equipped with the necessary foreign language ability, cross-cultural skills, and international experience to excel in the multinational/multicultural business environment of the 21st century. The ABB Scholarships for Women Engineers were first awarded last year when six women engineering students were awarded similar scholarships. Women are substantially under-represented in the field of engineering.

“I feel very lucky and honored to have received a scholarship of this magnitude,” commented Julia Baumann on learning that she had been selected for this scholarship. "It is good to learn that an engineering firm of ABB’s caliber recognizes the importance of engineers studying in a foreign setting.”  She added that she is “extremely excited” to live and study in Hungary and highlighted that a benefit of this program is that she can study abroad and still receive credit for her engineering courses.  “I know that this experience will better prepare me for life and eventual work in today’s global economy, and I’m eagerly awaiting the adventure ahead.”

Mary Catherine Hoffman recently arrived in Denmark to begin her studies there.  She is enjoying the challenge of life in a new place. Although, “the surroundings are different everyday, and I see new things and new people everyday” she notes that she “already feel[s] at home.” And she sends a powerful message to those in engineering schools in the United States, “Anyone who might be planning to studying abroad, I would urge you to go ahead.”

 “ABB has supported undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in business, law or engineering through program sponsorships for several years,” noted Dawn Fenton, ABB’s Manager for Government and Sustainability Affairs. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to support the Global Engineering Education Exchange program as a means of helping today's women become tomorrow's leaders.”

“We are indebted to ABB as the program's corporate sponsor, but especially for initiating the scholarships for women as another significant step towards increasing diversity,” commented Dr. Lester A. Gerhardt, Associate Dean of Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and
Chair of the Global E3 Executive Committee.  “We are very proud to already have a larger percentage of women in the Global E3 program than in the undergraduate enrollment at engineering schools, or than in the science and engineering work force, and believe the availability of these scholarships will further increase their representation. That coupled with the diversification inherent both in the disciplines they study and the countries that host them, give even more to the meaning of diversity that we all seek.”

Applications from students applying to study abroad through the Global E3 program are being accepted through October 10 and winners will be announced in November. Scholarship funds may be applied to language classes, airfare, books, or other costs related to the study abroad experience.

ABB is a global leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 150,000 worldwide. The company’s U.S. operations employ more than 14,000 in manufacturing and other facilities in 40 states.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. Its expertise enables institutions and individuals to build capacity in their home countries and regions. IIE designs and implements over 200 programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government and private sources. These programs include the Fulbright Student and Scholar programs and the Humphrey Fellowships, administered for the Department of State, as well as corporate training and scholarship programs.  IIE also conducts policy research and provides advice and counseling on international educational opportunities abroad. The Institute of International Education has a network of 19 offices worldwide, over 750 college and university members, and more than 5,000 volunteers.

The Global Engineering Education Exchange (Global E³) is an international exchange program for engineering students at participating universities. The program is designed to allow students to take courses overseas for credit at their home institutions, and receive practical training in another country, if desired. At the same time, the Global E³ program strives to minimize the increased costs associated with most study abroad programs. A consortium of leading universities established the Global E³ program administered in the United States by the Institute of International Education (IIE). Over 500 students in 17 countries have studied engineering outside of their own countries on this pioneering program.

Returned ABB Scholarship Award Recipients (2001-2002)

In the 2001-2002 academic year six women engineering students were selected to be the first recipients of this ABB scholarship:

  • Joy Chien of the University of Maryland studied biological engineering in Denmark
  • Megan Gibbs of the University of Wisconsin, Madison studied industrial engineering in Denmark;
  • Paige Rubenbauer of the University of Iowa studied biomedical engineering at the University of Wales, Swansea
  • Amy Schneider of Virginia Polytechnic Institute studied computer engineering in Germany
  • Victoria Tomei of University at Buffalo, State University of New York, studied chemical engineering at University of Wales, Swansea
  • Cindy Williams of Mississippi State University studied chemical engineering at the University of Wales, Swansea

For Paige Rubenbauer, “studying abroad was the last thing on my mind when I entered college." But, she said the experience, “increased my self-confidence greatly,” noting that, “I tried things I never thought I would do...meeting new people and having those experiences were unforgettable.” 

When Cindy Williams went to study in Wales, it was her first time overseas. On her return, she noted that, “Not only did studying in Wales expose me to different cultures, but it also helped me build character and skills that will benefit me in the future.”

Amy Schneider studied in Dresden, Germany, but, “like many Americans studying abroad I used the opportunity to travel as much as possible,” visiting Switzerland, Poland, and Hungary, as well as many sites in Germany. She now feels that, “I would like a career with an international aspect.”

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