Bring Texas in France with the Transatlantic Friendship and Mobility Initiative: seven UH students at the University of Paris-Sud

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The Transatlantic Friendship and Mobility Initiative (now called Transatlantic Mobility Program) is a joint program created in 2014 between the US Department of State and the Embassy of France in the United States through its Cultural Services and its Office for Science and Technology. The purpose of the program is to increase and diversify the mobility of US students going to France for study abroad programs. The initiative is endorsed by several key players in higher education, namely the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), NAFSA: Association of International Educators and the Institute of International Education (IIE).

In 2017, the College of Technology of the University of Houston was one of the 8 American universities that were awarded a TFMI grant. The objective of the project was to establish a joint collaboration between the University of Houston and the University of Paris-Sud to benefit under-represented students in STEM fields at both institutions, in addition to increase student mobility towards France and foster research collaboration. The TFMI grant was matched by the University of Houston so that most students’ expenses in France were covered.

Over the 2017-2018 academic year, seven UH students spent 2 to 7 months in France to perform internships and/or take academic courses at Université Paris–Sud (also called Paris 11), the second best French university according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Three more students will go this year.

Internship projects ranged in different areas of engineering technology, featuring:

- Flight Feedback System for Airplanes Using A Visual Interface
- Development of a User Interface Access to Biometric and Spirometry Data
- Modeling a Solar- Powered Micro-Grid on Simulink and MATLAB
- Nemesis IC Test Specification & Measurement
- Test Specifications and Measurements of the Nemesis IC
- Contactless Conductivity Measurement Device
- Mechanical Stress on the electromagnetic properties of ferromagnetic materials

All projects were awarded with credits upon students’ returns to the University of the Houston. One of the graduate students took graduate courses in English and transferred them towards his MS degree at UH.
In addition to experiencing work in a French lab, or taking English taught science courses in a French renown university, UH students enjoyed the French way of life in the close vicinity of Paris, at a very peculiar time for France: not only did they enjoy the fireworks of Bastille Day in Paris, but they could also attend the celebration of the 2018 World Cup France win!

In order to celebrate the success of the TFMI program with the College of Technology of the University of Houston, students were invited at the Consulate general of France in Houston to meet with the Consul general, Mr Alexis Andres. Dr Jaime Ortiz, Vice Provost for Global Strategies and Studies at the University of Houston, Dr Heidar Malki, Associate Dean of the College of Technology as well as Lindsay Calvert, Lead for Generation Study Abroad at IIE – Houston attended the reception.

The Office for Science & Technology of the French embassy in Houston thanks Dr Heidar Malki, as well as Dr Saïd Zouhdi from Université Paris – Sud, for making this program a success.