supporting english learners in STEM subjects

New Courses Offer Career-Focused STEM Language Support

By Steven Rashba

University of Bridgeport’s English Language Institute (ELI) was founded in 1992 with the mission of attracting international students to our campus and providing them with the language skillset necessary to succeed in their future academic/career studies. UB and ELI have undergone changes over the last few decades, but the fundamental mission remains unchanged – to provide a welcoming and nurturing environment for international students to build their skills and confidence when using the English language.

The College of Science and Society has recently developed its own specialized ESP (English for Specific Purpose) course to support international graduate students. The newly approved course, called ELI 400X: Career Focused STEM Language Support, will familiarize students with science, technology, engineering, and business English and written communications (such as email, technical reports, journal papers and memorandums). Course components are designed to help students develop their speaking and presentation skills so they can succeed in graduate level studies. The course will utilize a series of practical “real world” case studies, in-class exercises and team project assignments supplemented with readings in technical and management publications. The students will also learn basic research techniques, library tools and the appropriate ways to use references and citations utilizing the APA (American Psychological Association) reference conventions.

Similarly, the Department of Modern Languages currently offers the Spanish 110A-110B sequence, Spanish for Healthcare Professionals, both of which offer 1-credit (i.e. total 2 credits). This course is specifically designed for students who will be working with members of the Hispanic community within the healthcare industry. Students learn the grammar, vocabulary, and key phrases necessary to gather patient information in a hospital or healthcare setting and to advocate for patients trying to navigate the US healthcare system in their second language. Another aspect of the course is an overview of cultural norms and expectations necessary for establishing an appropriate rapport with patients from the Hispanic community.

These courses are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many ways University of Bridgeport supports international students to succeed in a STEM-focused professional environment.

For more information about ELI 400X, scheduled to meet for one hour on Tuesday afternoons in Fall 2023, as well as the Spanish 110A/B sequence, please contact Steven Rashba at

Steven Rashba, ARM, is the Director of Modern Languages and the English Language Institute and currently teaches Advanced ELI 140 (Research Writing for ESL Students). The English Language Institute welcomes international students with Intermediate and Advanced English language proficiency.