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Old 05-31-2007, 05:38 AM
 
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In a thread in the religion forum, I made the following statement regarding America's status in the world....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpha8207 View Post
I still find it amazing that despite our "political and religious ideology" and an "ample dose of ignorance", we still are faced with immigration problems(people just love ignorance, don't they...including the OP) and we're arguably THE world's superpower. We're a tremendous force in the technology, medical, and educational fields, if not the world's leader.
One of the responses to this post was intriguing to me, and worthy, IMO, of all of us discussing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stretch00 View Post
We have immigration problems because we have a good economy relative to central america and rural asia.

We are a tremendous force in the fields that you mention, but a huge proportion of our PhDs are awarded to foreign students.

You might say that our technological prowess is being maintained on the backs of others.
While I think the immigration answer is accurate, Asia and Central America aren't the only groups coming to America.

Also, IF(and that's a huge if) our "tremendous force" is the various fields is credited to foreign students, what would those students be doing here in the first place??

So, my question to this forum is:

Is this statement "You might say that our technological prowess is being maintained on the backs of others", accurate??
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Old 05-31-2007, 05:58 AM
 
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First, to dispose of the geographical issues on immigration, I agree that immigrants are coming from places other than Asia and Central America. We could debate type of immigration, preparedness to take part in American society, quantitities and percentages, and whether or not it is even a problem, but lets save that for a different thread.

Now, for a few words on education


A quick google search turned up this document (broken link) which gives some data to support my statement.

Quote:
By 1993, 57% of the PhDs in engineering and more than one-third in physics, computer science, and mathematics were awarded to foreign-born scientists and engineers

Historically, about half the foreign citizens with American doctorates in science and engineering have left the United States after getting their PhDs or later postdoctoral appointments
From here (broken link), I pulled this statement:

Quote:
Over half the masters degrees and two-thirds of the PhDs awarded by U.S. universities in electrical engineering are to foreign nationals.

If you read the articles I cite more thoroughly, they do talk about how engineering fields are particularly dominated by foreign born students, but hard sciences also show this trend, just not as strongly.

The articles also talk about how there are more doctorates awarded in these fields than there were a few years ago. I don't think that is hugely significant, as there are more people in the US as well. The point that I am making is that there are many foreign born students taking graduate degrees in hard sciences and engineering, and a good portion of them are staying in the US to practice their professions.

Let me be clear on this. I am ok with that. I am not a racist or a bigot, and if some man/woman wants to come from Thailand/Honduras/India... and become a physicist/biomedical researcher/engineer.. and work in the US that is perfectly ok with me.

My point is that without this influx of people in these fields, the current US lead in many areas would be declining even faster than it currently is.
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Old 05-31-2007, 06:19 AM
 
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First, I know you aren't racist or a bigot, and I would defend you vehemently should someone suggest otherwise.

Second, regarding the quote below...

Quote:
Originally Posted by stretch00 View Post
The point that I am making is that there are many foreign born students taking graduate degrees in hard sciences and engineering, and a good portion of them are staying in the US to practice their professions.
....why?

We must have something to offer in our 'back-woods' thinking (my quote, not yours) for these folks to pursue their educations and subsequent careers here.

That's my point....and question as well.
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Old 05-31-2007, 06:38 AM
 
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I think that the US has many things to offer. A top notch educational system, where even the mid-ranked universities are well funded and have access to the equipment needed by scientists and researchers.

A vibrant job market that needs people with those skills.

A good economy so that they can be paid well.

I do not want to diminish any of these things. But my point is that native-born Americans, as a population, are not going into the sciences. The faculty at these universities are increasingly foreign born. The students are. The post-docs and industrial scientists and engineers and computer programmers are also increasingly foreign born. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, and it is a viable way of maintaining our technology and educational prowess, but it is being done with a great influx of foreign students.

My original statement back in the religion thread was not meant to imply that we have been reduced to stealing tech from other countries in some sort of industrial theft. Simply that Americans are increasingly turning away from science and the lack is being made up for through immigration.
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Old 05-31-2007, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Journey's End
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Just a quick response: whilst responsible for postdoctoral students in a major medical school, I'd say our graduate and postgraduate students were primarily foreign born (Africa, Asia, South America, Australia, European) and not US-born. Of the 50-100 such students I mentored over a 10-year period, I believe we had less than a handful of American students. Of the total number receiving their PhD and in some cases an M.D., about half remained in the States, the other half either returned home or found positions in other industrialized nations.

And as a postscript, a significant number of the faculty were also foreign-born; I'd estimate that number at approx. 30% or more.
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Old 05-31-2007, 08:24 AM
 
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OTR, what where the nationalities of the people educating these folks? I'm assuming you're American???

Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheroad View Post
Just a quick response: whilst responsible for postdoctoral students in a major medical school, I'd say our graduate and postgraduate students were primarily foreign born (Africa, Asia, South America, Australia, European) and not US-born. Of the 50-100 such students I mentored over a 10-year period, I believe we had less than a handful of American students. Of the total number receiving their PhD and in some cases an M.D., about half remained in the States, the other half either returned home or found positions in other industrialized nations.

And as a postscript, a significant number of the faculty were also foreign-born; I'd estimate that number at approx. 30% or more.
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Old 05-31-2007, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Journey's End
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The nationality of the chair: Brasilian; the faculty one each: Canadian, Sicilian; Scots; Chilean; and five Americans.

Yes, I am American.

This was in a large city and we were working on infectious diseases so it is highly probable we had a larger number of international students. However, if I remember correctly, both the medical school and the hospital, itself, had a very large number of foreign-born physicians and students.

Conversely, in another medical school where I worked on a different modality, I believe we were almost 100% American born. And, that medical school is in a smaller New England city. However, there is always one of those, their student body at the undergraduate school, itself, was very international--probably 1/4 to 1/3 of their enrollment.

As for piggy-backing itself, I do believe many foreign nationals receive their education abroad and in the United States, and return to their country, or stay in their adopted country and make a significant contribution. Many of the Africans I've worked with received their undergraduate education in Europe (Germany and England, primarily); then went on to receive graduate degrees in the States. Of the number I recall off the top of my head, more than 90% of the Africans returned to their home-land. Of those I worked with from Latin and South America, I'd say less than 1/4 of them returned to their home-land.

Remember all my numbers are speculative and not hard data.
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Old 05-31-2007, 09:05 AM
 
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So would you or would you not agree with this statement from the OP:

"You might say that our technological prowess is being maintained on the backs of others."

To me your post actually implies the opposite. But maybe I'm reading more into it than I should. (Maybe it's just been too long a week already.......seems like the third Thursday already and this week was supposed to be short!!)

Might be difficult to pin down, especially since apparently geographic location/field cause the numbers to vary greatly.

Your (or others) thoughts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheroad View Post
As for piggy-backing itself, I do believe many foreign nationals receive their education abroad and in the United States, and return to their country, or stay in their adopted country and make a significant contribution. Many of the Africans I've worked with received their undergraduate education in Europe (Germany and England, primarily); then went on to receive graduate degrees in the States. Of the number I recall off the top of my head, more than 90% of the Africans returned to their home-land. Of those I worked with from Latin and South America, I'd say less than 1/4 of them returned to their home-land.
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Old 05-31-2007, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Journey's End
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Since the thread is now in the Immigration forum, frankly I am loathe to continue to participate as I didn't see this as an immigration-specific issue.

But I'll respond this time to your question: I don't know if I agree or disagree with the OP, and in some fields, and in some regions, I do think we see a larger number of foreign nationals. In medicine overall, in recent years the number of foreign-born nationals has increased enormously--even in small rural towns!

In engineering and mathematics, I do see more foreign-born, or second generation Americans represented heavily.

These are again speculative and not concrete facts. I do think there is data around to support and/or contradict the notion that many foreign born residents are in specific fields with great success.
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Old 05-31-2007, 09:34 AM
 
7,780 posts, read 13,250,351 times
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I'm with you, this isn't an immigration discussion.

Thanks for your input.

My point, and the reason it was in P&oC, was more along the lines of whether America can stand on it's on in these fields. I personally don't believe that we are the advanced nation we are because of students training here. It doesn't add up. (And I realize that's a very 'readers digest' version of stretch's comments, and I mean no disrespect. Just not gonna beat this horse here in immigration. It will lead very far OT.)

Anyway, hate this got moved but thanks for the discourse, OTR. Always a pleasure.

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Originally Posted by ontheroad View Post
Since the thread is now in the Immigration forum, frankly I am loathe to continue to participate as I didn't see this as an immigration-specific issue.
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