A World Traveler Supports UConn Study Abroad

Dr. Michael Rosen, an alum with two degrees from UConn, has established a fund to encourage students in the physical and life sciences to study abroad.



Michael Rosen '89, '93 MD wants to encourage students in the sciences to study abroad. (Photo courtesy of the UConn Foundation)
Michael Rosen ’89, ’93 MD wants to encourage students in the sciences to study abroad. (Photo courtesy of the UConn Foundation)

Michael Rosen ’89, ’93 MD is both a science-minded professional and a widely traveled citizen of the world, having visited more than 45 countries for school, work, and personal edification.

Today, he’s giving back to UConn in a way that reflects both passions. The Rosen Family Scholarship for Science and Studies Abroad supports undergraduate students with a major in the physical or life sciences who are also participating in study abroad.

Rosen believes that a global view, developed early, makes for better future scientists, but there are aspects to science education today that may prevent some students from seeking study abroad experiences. He experienced this firsthand, while a University Scholar in Storrs.

“Even in my own undergraduate education, my father would send me information about a year abroad, and I’d think, ‘Well, that sounds interesting, but I have Organic Chemistry I and II to prepare for,’” he recalls. “The issue with that mindset is that you can develop a kind of tunnel vision; you’re just so focused. Global issues don’t come as naturally to, to pick one example, a chemistry major, as it does to, to pick another, a history major, who is in some ways immersed in thinking about other cultures every day.”

Rosen believes that the very nature of going abroad, which his parents impressed on their family from a young age, changed his life.

“By traveling into a foreign culture or situation, you gain perspective on dealing with and understanding people. You become open to different ideas, to live in a world different from the one you’re comfortable in. You have to think on your feet. I really feel that my travels have made me a better physician. How can having that kind of experience not improve a scientist’s ability to think critically and discover?”

While he never did manage that year abroad while an undergraduate at UConn, he found himself overseas during breaks, completing a summer semester at Tel Aviv University and, while at the UConn School of Medicine, studying and working in the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, as well as completing clinical electives in Australia.

Dean Jeremy Teitelbaum of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences says that Rosen’s gift perfectly ties into UConn’s priorities for study abroad.

“We are a global university, and the more we can expose our students to different experiences, the sooner we can all gain the benefit that comes from it, in the life and physical sciences, the humanities and, really, every field. I applaud Michael’s global outlook.”

Rosen understands that the combination of sciences and study abroad is a unusual basis for a scholarship, but he knows the transformative power that it could have on students.

“My parents helped me out when I was at UConn, but I know there are students out there who can’t even think of studying abroad,” he says. “I want to help give them those experiences. It will absolutely change their life and open doors. Hopefully I can provide that opportunity.”

From the UConn Foundation’s Our Moment newsletter (February-March 2013).