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US DoD Needs Scientists and Engineers

:: Interesting article from govexec.com, about how the US Department of Defense is reaching out to students to encourage them to enroll in science and engineering programs, in order to head off an impending shortage in the near future. The article notes:

More students - American or other- wise - are graduating from U.S. universities. But interest in college-level science and engineering studies is waning. The military points to a decline among citizens and permanent resident immigrants, while NSF notes statistics showing that women and minorities are particularly under-represented. Citing NSF data, the military says the number of students earning bachelor's degrees in Defense-related science and engineering did not keep pace with the number of bachelor's degrees awarded overall between 1994 and 2001. Graduate and post-graduate enrollment slowed, too. During the same period, fewer than half the U.S. post-graduate scientists and engineers were citizens. The total of Ph.D. degrees increased, but the number of U.S. citizens earning them decreased.
I was curious to read that interest in science and engineering is declining among American students. I am not aware of a similar trend in Canada, but I can report that interest in engineering on our campus, the University of Alberta, is skyrocketing. Between 1995/96 and 2003/04, our undergraduate engineering enrolment increased by over 30%, graduate enrollment increased by ~146%, and the number of engineering faculty increased by ~60%. With the National Institute for Nanotechnology scheduled to open on our campus in 2005, this trend should continue unabated for the next few years.

Comments

Do you think you may have some students who in other years would have studied in the US? They've cracked down on student Visas here and it's said to be decimating sci/tech grad school enrollment. You know your enrollment is up, do you know what the trend is in Canadians vs. Foreign Nationals? I believe the number of US-born scientists and engineers has been steadily decreasing.

I don't know the answer to that question. We have a world-class engineering faculty, no question about that. The Faculty of Engineering had 149 full-time fall term students from other countries, for 2003-2004. Amazingly, only 2 were from the USA. 31 were from China, 16 from Hong Kong.

Hi Randy-
Your increase may be because you have a great school - no insult intended. I'm just wondering where the grad students are going? See this study, for example:

http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/highlite/intvisa/intvisa.htm
(full pdf here: http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/reports/international.pdf )

Physics Students From Abroad in the Post-9/11 Era
by Michael Neuschatz and Patrick Mulvey
Highlights
After decades of steady increases to a peak of 55% in 2000-01, the population of foreign students entering graduate physics programs has
declined noticeably in the past two years (Figure 1).
In the past year, two-thirds of the PhD-granting departments, and almost half of the Masters departments, report that they have accepted
foreign students who were unable to attend because of visa difficulties (Table 1).
Overall, it appears that about 20% of admitted foreign students were at least initially prevented from attending in the fall of 2002. The
highest-ranked PhD departments were least affected, but smaller PhD and Masters departments experienced a substantial enrollment impact (Table 1).
In numerical terms, Chinese students were by far the group most commonly denied entrance. Even in percentage terms, Chinese, along with middle eastern students, felt the greatest impact.
Many departments report major effects on course enrollments, and on their ability to fill openings for RA's and especially TA's (Figure
2).
Most departments are maintaining their current admissions policies for now, with only a few reporting major changes in their stance on
accepting students from abroad

Also - it's a big impact here because foreign students pay the highest tuition so universities are simultaneously dealing with state budget
cuts due to the recession, decreasing enrollment, increasing human resource costs (like medical insurance, other insurance)....

Well, good luck to our DoD, they'll need it and we need them to be successful.

Dear sir/ma,

I am an undergraduate Electronic/computer engineering student at the school of engineering lagos state university, Nigeria. Am interested in doing an internship with DoD with some much challenges and researches going on there. I am highly interested in applying for an elective posting in your school. Can you please send me how I may go about it. Your anticipated prompt favourable response is highly appreciated.
Yours sincere
Anjorin Adekunle

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