USI partnership to educate Panamanian students in STEM fields


The National Secretariat of Science and Technology of Panama (SENACYT) has approved the University of Southern Indiana as a recipient of its Institute for the Formation and Use of Human Resources (IFARHU-SENACYT) public schools scholarship program.

“With this agreement, USI becomes one of only two public universities in the United States hosting this program,” said Heidi Gregori-Gahan, assistant provost for International Programs at USI. “We expect the first cohort of degree-seeking students from Panama to begin our Intensive English Program as early as March.”

The University hosted a site visit from a Panamanian delegation this summer as a final step in securing the agreement. SENACYT is an autonomous government institution that promotes science, research and innovation for sustainable development, inclusion and competitiveness.

“Strengthening scientific capabilities in Panama is crucial to achieve these goals, and human capital is key for developing such capabilities,” SENACYT said in a statement about the new partnership. “For this reason, SENACYT has numerous initiatives to promote education in STEM areas and our IFARHU-SENACYT scholarship program is one of them. With our scholarships, we would like to ensure a robust base of human capital with a high level of education, trained in the best universities in the world. We are sure USI will give a warm welcome to our Panamanian scholars and that are students will seize the opportunity they have received to be part of the USI community.”

Recipients of the scholarships are chosen based on merit and excellence, and go through an external evaluation process in which two evaluators review each application and interview candidates.

Since 2005, SENACYT has supported around 2,000 scholars in different areas of study and in various parts of the world. In 2012, it started a special scholarship program aimed at students from public schools, with the goal of giving them the opportunity to study abroad. The program includes a year of language training, courses to reinforce math, physics and chemistry, and academic support and follow up. The successful program is one of the reasons SENACYT is interested in diversifying the program and expanding its reach to new universities like USI.


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