Local student studies abroad in Seville, Spain

Diane Sieker photo

CLAREMONT – Nicholas Shephard of Aguanga, a junior at Harvey Mudd College majoring in computer science, is participating in a study abroad program in Seville, Spain, during the spring semester.

Shephard attended Great Oak High School in Temecula. Shephard is one of 43 students at Harvey Mudd currently studying abroad, the largest number of students to study abroad in one semester in the college’s history. Countries where students are studying include Britain, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, Scotland, South Africa and Spain.

Nationally, students majoring in STEM are less likely to participate in study abroad programs during their college years than students in other majors. STEM students often have a harder time fitting a semester abroad into academic requirements that are tightly sequenced. STEM students also have fewer science and engineering-related programs to choose from and can have more difficulty obtaining credit at their home institution for STEM courses taken abroad due to differences in course material covered.

Harvey Mudd’s Office of Study Abroad has been working to increase the opportunities and overcome the challenges for STEM students to participate in study abroad programs. In the early 2000s, only 5% of the college’s junior class participated in study abroad programs; now the college regularly sends between 15 to 18% of the junior class abroad. This year’s record number represents 22% of the junior class. The group of 43 students is also the most ethnically diverse in the history of the college and represents a wide range of majors, including biology, computer science, engineering, math and physics.

Harvey Mudd College, a leader in science, mathematics and engineering education, has an ongoing mission to provide its students with a rich background in the humanities and social sciences. Studying abroad allows students to continue their education while absorbing the rich culture of another country. Through the Study Abroad program, students gain a global perspective of their fields, while continuing their education and exploring other cultures and countries.

Submitted by Harvey Mudd College.