Study Abroad Short: Madrid, Spain with the Program for Women in Science and Engineering

Program Overview

The focus of the program is a comparative analysis of issues facing women in science and engineering here in the United States and how those issues are different/similar for women internationally. We have selected the location of Spain due to the high percentage of women in the science and engineering workforce (42% in Spain compared to 23% in the U.S.). The program would also provide students the opportunity to explore the broader social, economic, political, and historical contexts of these two countries. Students will enroll in INST 295x and receive 3-credits towards their International Perspectives requirements in Spring 2015. The class will meet Tuesdays from 4:10-6 PM.

In addition to pre- and post-coursework students would have opportunities to

  • tour science & engineering facilities
  • meet with professional scientists and engineers
  • meet with university students and faculty
  • engage in the culture of the destination
Flamenco dancer
Flamenco dancer in Madrid, Spain. One of the many cultural
experiences particpants will have!

At the end of the program, students will:

  • develop a basic understanding of the geography, cultural, economic, political, educational, and social systems of Spain,
  • be able to compare and contrast the experiences and issues (in higher education and in the workplace) surrounding women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines in the U.S. and Spain,
  • gain an understanding of the globalization of STEM, and
  • understand the relationship and intersection of current issues in Spain and the U.S., and their impact on STEM education and careers.
Spainish University
Learn about Spain's education system and interact with female students and faculty.

Tentative Itinerary

  • Thursday, March 12, 2015: Depart Iowa State University
    Des Moines International Airport (DSM) to Madrid, Spain (MAD)
  • Friday, March 13, 2015: Arrive Madrid, Spain (a.m.)
    Sightseeing tour, cultural overview of Madrid
  • Saturday, March 14, 2015
    Morning: cultural overview specific to the education system and women in the workforce
    Afternoon: Royal Palace (including the historical Royal Pharmacy, and armory) with lesson on negotiating the metro
    Dinner: Group Meal - Tapas bar dinner/early for Spain
  • Sunday, March 15, 2015
    Students have the option of attending a bullfight while in Madrid.
    Morning: Prado museum, walk through Retiro Park to Plaza de la Puerta del Sol
    Afternoon: Free time and time for student class projects
    Evening: Optional Bullfight (only night this is available while we are there)
  • Monday, March 16, 2015
    Morning: John Deere Iberia: tour facility, meet with female STEM employees, lunch
    Afternoon: Spanish-owned Company
    Evening: Flamenco Dancing
  • Tuesday, March 17, 2015
    Morning: Cargill: tour facility, meet with female STEM employees, lunch
    Afternoon: Visit with female undergraduates in STEM majors/faculty at a university
  • Wednesday, March 18, 2015
    Day Trip: Toledo + Olive Farm
  • Thursday, March 19, 2015
    glass house in Retiro Park
    Enjoy strolling through Retiro Park in the City Center.
    Morning: tour company, meet with female STEM employees, lunch
    Afternoon: Sightseeing in Madrid
  • Friday, March 20, 2015
    Day Trip: Segovia: Roman Aqueducts, Castle (military engineering), etc.
  • Saturday, March 21, 2015
    Morning: classroom space: trip wrap up and reflection ? preparation for return trip and project work time also
    Afternoon: Free time (souvenir shopping, etc.)
  • Sunday, March 22, 2015
    Travel Day: Return to Ames, Iowa

Cost Estimate

fountain in Madrid
Enjoy the sights and sounds of Madrid, Spain.

The total cost of the Study Abroad Short is estimated at $3500 for the 10-day experience. Scholarships from the Program for Women in Science and Engineering in the amount of $500 to $1000 are available.

Program Requirements

Priority will be given to students who are:

  • Participating in a Women in Science & Engineering Learning Community (first-year, second-year or transfer)
  • Majoring in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math major (a complete list can be found at:

Applications will require:

  • Statement of Interest (approximately 300 words)
  • Resume
  • One (1) Letter of Recommendation

Program Director

segovia aqueducts
Enjoy two day trips: One to Segovia and another to Toledo while in Spain.

Janice Crow