Computer Tech News 2014

PCMI computer science graduate student Tim Ward with members of his host community on the island nation of Vanuatu.Michigan Technological University’s award-winning Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) program is offering new degree options for students in two departments: computer science and electrical and computer engineering (ECE). The School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science is also expanding its PCMI programs to include a Master of Geographic Information Science.

The expanded programs will enable more students to take part in PCMI, in which students earn a master’s degree while simultaneously serving in the Peace Corps. Students typically take two semesters of courses on campus before volunteering for two years overseas and then returning to Michigan Tech to complete their degree.

“The new programs in computer science and ECE were pitched to the Peace Corps as an opportunity for our students to serve in math and science education or other sectors needing IT and technology expertise, ” said Kari Henquinet, PCMI director at Tech. “Our new PCMI students will bring technical training together with the strong interdisciplinary training that all of our Tech PCMI students have.”

Peace Corps at Michigan Tech

“All PCMI students take classes about cross-cultural learning and working with communities no matter which program they’re in, ” says Henquinet. “We have 68 students currently involved in PCMI and hope to grow that number as we recruit for our new offerings.”

Tim Ward, the first computer science PCMI student, says his experiences serving in the small island nation of Vanuatu have allowed him to use the STEM knowledge he gained through his undergraduate degree from Tech.

“This type of program lets you challenge yourself into overcoming obstacles that will make a first-world desk job seem like Easy Street once you get back, ” says Ward. “I joined the computer science PCMI program at Tech because I knew what a powerful combination it would be.”

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