5 More Interesting People in STEM Fields Who Studied Abroad

It’s common knowledge that STEM students are underrepresented in study abroad, but we don’t want it to stay that way! Our friend Sarah McNitt, producer of the Famous People Who Studied Abroad blog series, put together another great list of interesting people from the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math who have studied abroad!

Photo credit to Gonzaga University

1. As a woman in the 19th century, Russian mathematician Sofia Kovalevskaya was not permitted to attend a Russian university and needed written permission from her father or husband in order to study at a foreign university. Her father did not support the plans, so she entered into a “fictitious marriage” with a Russian colleague which allowed her study at the University of Heidelberg and the University of Göttingen in Germany.

2. Malawian engineer and inventor William Kamkwamba‘s story is told in the book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope. At age 14, he designed and built windmills and water pumps that have improved the lives of people in his country, and now he is a student at Dartmouth College in the United States.

3. Anglo-American physician Elizabeth Blackwell is famous for being the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States (1849), but found that she was unable to use that degree as most hospitals would not allow women to practice medicine. She traveled to Paris, France for two years of further training. As in the United States, she faced prejudice based on her sex and was treated as a student midwife rather than a medical student. By the time she returned to the United States, she was able to set up her own medical practice.

4. American inventor Samuel Morse is best-known for his contributions to telegraphy (including co-creating Morse Code), but many people don’t know that he also had a career as a painter. He studied painting in Paris, France between 1830 and 1832.

5. American physician Augusta Déjerine-Klumpke attended a boarding school in Cannstatt, Germany (along with her sister Anna, a painter) and also took courses in Lausanne, Switzerland. She then attended the University of Paris (as did her astronomer sister Dorothea), where she received her M.D. degree in 1887 and was the first female intern to work in a hospital in Paris. She made many discoveries in the study of neurology and nerve damage and is the namesake for Klumpke paralysis. That’s quite a lot of study abroad and success in one family!

Are you a STEM student looking to study abroad?  Check out the 2012 Study Abroad Rankings to view the top rated programs for STEM students!