Six students from the Dominican Republic.


Student Innovation Across Borders

September 29, 2017

Pictured: Students from the Instituto Tecnológico de las Américas in the Dominican Republic teamed up with students from NYIT School of Engineering and Computing Sciences in a study abroad project called Innovation Across Borders.

This fall, six students from the Instituto Tecnológico de las Américas (ITLA) in the Dominican Republic arrived on campus where they teamed up with NYIT School of Engineering and Computing Sciences students to respond to a design challenge based around medical devices.

Tariq Jamal

Strengthening a bond with NYIT, former president of the Dominican Republic Leonel Fernández visited NYIT this week to meet with the students and with Mark C. Hampton, vice president for Planning, Analytics, and Decision Support and interim vice president for Enrollment Management. Fernández came in his capacity as president of the Fundacion Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), which aims to increase commercial and academic exchange between the Dominican Republic and the United States. Pictured: Mark Hampton (bottom left) with Leonel Fernández (bottom right) and students from the Dominican Republic.

The study abroad partnership, called Innovation Across Borders, is made possible thanks to a grant of $25,000, which supports an exchange program where students collaborate on design and innovation projects while experiencing new cultures. The grant was one of 14 awarded by the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund in honor of NAFSA’s retired Executive Director and CEO Marlene M. Johnson, which aims to increase student exchange and training programs within the Americas.

Throughout the 2017–2018 academic year, 12 students (six from ITLA and six from NYIT) will work together virtually and through visits to each other’s campuses. “Working together, they will propose innovative solutions, develop prototypes, and work on business plans,” said Marta A. Panero, Ph.D., director of strategic partnerships at the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences.

During the fall semester, the six Dominican students will get acquainted with NYIT culture and their teammates. In the spring, the teams will continue to work on their project designs via virtual collaboration. Then, in the early summer of 2018, the six New York-based team members will visit the Dominican Republic to learn about Dominican culture and to finalize the group projects and develop marketing plans. The teams will then present their projects to the board of directors at ITLA-linked business incubator Cyber Park in Santo Domingo and to the Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation Center (ETIC) at NYIT-Long Island.

The goal is for this cross-border creative collaboration to contribute to economic development in both countries. “By sending current and future leaders to and from the Dominican Republic and the United States, Innovation Across Borders will promote intercultural understanding and empower participants to introduce new products suitable for their societies’ challenges and a global market,” said Panero.

ITLA President Eddy Martinez added, “Having student teams from both NYIT and ITLA working collaboratively on design and development projects will not only contribute to the students’ professional development; it also has potential to benefit companies associated with the Cyber Park of Santo Domingo and the ETIC in New York.”