International Engineering Executive Director to Speak at LSU

03/19/2013 03:15 PM

BATON ROUGE – LSU’s College of Engineering, in partnership with LSU’s Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures, will host Sigrid Berka on Wednesday, March 20, at 4 p.m. in the Frank H. Walk Design Room. Berka will discuss “Engineering Education with an International Dimension, Preparing Students for the Global Marketplace.”


Berka serves as executive director of the International Engineering Program, or IEP, and is an associate professor of German at the University of Rhode Island. The IEP is the nation’s most distinctive plan for global preparation of engineers. As director, Berka focuses on cross-cultural training for engineering students, as well as helping them gain internships with global companies or dual degree programs with German and Chinese universities. She also studies the impact of international experiences on students.


“The potential partnership with the department of foreign languages is a great example of how we can leverage existing resources within the university to broaden the skill set of the LSU engineer,” says Rick Koubek, dean of LSU’s College of Engineering. “Sigrid Berka’s expertise in this regard is an excellent opportunity to help jumpstart this conversation.”


Engineering is a global field and recent rapid expansion of global business has impacted many industries in Louisiana. Berka’s visit to LSU will provide the opportunity for academia, students and the industry communities to engage in Berka’s international expertise, including how to provide networks for local companies operating globally and establishing academic and corporate partnerships in a competitive international marketplace.


“The departments of foreign languages & literatures and French studies hope to play a role in educating future engineers, and in helping them expand their academic and employment opportunities in today’s increasingly global marketplace and workforce,” said John Pizer, professor of German and comparative literature and chair of the Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures.


Berka’s knowledge will help the College of Engineering further its initiative to increase global awareness and emphasize the university’s global impact. The College of Engineering is continually striving to train engineering undergraduates and graduates to meet the needs of a dynamic, rapidly changing world by exploring and fostering discoveries that can be applied to meet worldwide solutions.


Berka has spoken at a variety of conferences, including the IEEE annual conference in Montreal where she presented on “Changing the charge of Engineering Education – preparing students for the global work place through an integrated international dual degree curriculum.” She received the 2012 Andrew Heiskell Innovation Award for Study Abroad from the Institute for International Education and the Sen. Paul Simon NAFSA Spotlight Award for campus internationalization from the Association for International Educators in 2011. In 2007, she served as an MIT delegate for the Global Engineering Excellence Initiative Program, a consortium of the best engineering schools worldwide with the mission to educate the global engineer.


LSU’s College of Engineering offers many global opportunities for students to be exposed to international engineering, including Encounter Engineering in Europe, or E3. To learn more about E3, visit

Mimi  LaValle 
Department of Physics & Astronomy

Posted on Tuesday, March 19, 2013