PASADENA—The California Institute of Technology has developed a unique student exchange program with Cambridge University, England. This January, four Caltech seniors began participation in the pilot phase of the program, which allows Caltech students, visiting for only one term, to be full members of their host colleges and of the university.
Caltech's president, David Baltimore, remarked, "This exchange program will give Caltech students an opportunity to experience the excitement and intellectual ferment of Cambridge University. This program brings to a Caltech education an extraordinary educational dividend. It is the kind of effort that helps broaden students' perspectives."
The Caltech participants, Charles Michael Atkin, James Buckwalter, Joseph Renes, and Michael Westover will reside in one of three participating host colleges —Corpus Christi, Pembroke, and St. John's— and will take a rigorous academic program at the level of advanced Cambridge University undergraduates. As full members of their host college, students will attend university lectures and labs and have the use of all university facilities.
"I think that it's important for Caltech to develop these kinds of exchanges," said Caltech senior Mike Atkin, one of the participating students. "Science is a very international effort, so it's important for students to see the different approaches and attitudes of scientists outside the U.S."
During the summer, Caltech will host four Cambridge students selected by their representative colleges. These students will live at Caltech and do a research project through Caltech's Summer Undergraduate Fellowship Program, better known by its acronym SURF.
Lauren Stolper, director of Fellowships Advising at Caltech and the person responsible for initiating the program, commented, "Its uniqueness stems from the fact that it is an exchange, not just a study abroad opportunity. Students are going in two directions, which fosters relations between Caltech and Cambridge faculty and students."
The program is in its pilot phase and will be reviewed by both universities this spring. If deemed successful it will continue in the fall. Applicants must be Caltech sophomores or juniors in good standing, and must submit an application including a detailed study proposal.
Founded in 1891, Caltech has an enrollment of some 2,000 students, and a faculty of about 280 professorial members and 130 research members. The Institute has more than 19,000 alumni. Caltech employs a staff of more than 1,700 on campus and 5,300 at JPL.
Over the years, 27 Nobel Prizes and four Crafoord Prizes have been awarded to faculty members and alumni. Forty-four Caltech faculty members and alumni have received the National Medal of Science; and eight alumni (two of whom are also trustees), two additional trustees, and one faculty member have won the National Medal of Technology. Since 1958, 13 faculty members have received the annual California Scientist of the Year award.
On the Caltech faculty there are 75 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and on the faculty and Board of Trustees, 68 members of the National Academy of Sciences and 46 members of the National Academy of Engineering.