Proceedings of the 2008 Christian Engineering Educators Conference
Academic institutions are encouraged to instill "the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context." This paper summarizes the structural, planning, and logistical aspects of offering senior-level capstone and underclass extra-curricular design projects targeted for developing countries. These projects engage the students in year-long design and fabrication, and culminate in taking students to foreign soil for delivery and installation. The necessary infrastructure and culture at the academic institution, relationships with appropriate intermediaries, and the role of a receptive national host that needs engineering services are identified. The goal is to continue an on-going collaborative relationship that takes students and faculty abroad annually, who in turn help to identify new projects for future teams. The criteria by which projects are selected and staffed (i.e., academic merit, field need, and student interest) are discussed.
A case study is presented that evaluates our pilot program. The projects that were selected focused on an organization's infrastructure that provides mechanical services (e.g., electric power generation, water, and sanitation) to support a radio station, a hospital, a school and a host of Non Governmental Organizations. Additional projects were focused on needs of rural people. The results of our first team, which traveled to Liberia, West Africa in May 2007 are documented. They successfully installed a student-designed cooling system for diesel-powered generators, built a medical waste incinerator for the hospital, and distributed solar-powered reading lamps to rural dwellers. They also began a new senior capstone project - to improve the water distribution network - by collecting appropriate data and preparing CAD drawings of the facilities.
Overnight trips to remote villages provided engineering students and faculty an opportunity to see how the rural dweller lives. These experiences provided rich insight for the students to see basic needs of people on a new level, and how they might develop engineering solutions which blend into the culture.
The Bible gives mandates to subdue the earth and to make disciples in "all the nations." This paper describes our pilot program for engaging undergraduate engineering students to enable and encourage African believers in their ministry of meeting humanitarian needs and propagating the gospel in Liberia. This program helps undergraduate students discern God’s call on their lives as they complete engineering projects targeted for a developing country. Important components for the program's success were: 1) infrastructure and culture at the academic institution, 2) relationships with appropriate intermediaries, and 3) a receptive national host that needs engineering services. These components were similar to those identified by others in recent literature. A case study is presented that evaluates our pilot program which took a team of students and faculty to Liberia, West Africa in May 2007. ELWA Ministries comprises a Christian radio station, a Christian hospital, and a Christian school; the 134-acre campus is also home to many families and provides housing for Non-governmental organizations. Four projects were selected focusing on ELWA’s physical plant that provides mechanical services. The team successfully installed a student-designed cooling system for diesel-powered generators and built a medical waste incinerator for the hospital. Students also prepared CAD drawings of the campus and documented the water system by taking many measurements. An additional project helped rural pastors; the students designed and distributed solar-rechargeable reading lights. Overnight trips to remote villages provided engineering students and faculty an opportunity to see how the rural dweller lives. These experiences provided the students intercultural worship opportunities and insight how to develop engineering solutions which blend into the culture. The ELWA services personnel and Liberian pastoral leadership expressed profound gratitude for the team’s ministry; student assessment also confirmed the value of the experience.
Engineering, design, developing countries, ministry
Zavodney, Lawrence D.; Thompson, Thomas J.; and Hutchison, Ray, "On Providing Engineering Students with Ministry and Culturally-Appropriate Design Experiences in Developing Countries" (2008). Engineering and Computer Science Faculty Publications. 47.