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Students Expand Global Horizons While Helping Others

March 21, 2014

Surveying In Forest Cropped

Completing Project: An Engineers Without Borders student chapter member helps complete a surveying assignment as part of a recent project that  brought new latrines to Batey Santa Rosa, a village in the Dominican Republic. (Photo by John Gardner)

Global educational opportunities continue to expand for Rose-Hulman students, with recent trips to Japan and the Dominican Republic, and an upcoming journey to Europe and Africa.

Members of the student chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) spent the recent academic quarter break completing a five-year project to improve the quality of life for residents of Batey Cinco Casas and Batey Santa Rosa—rural villages in the Dominican Republic.

Students worked with professional engineers from central Indiana to expand services for the only health clinic in the Batey Cinco Casas area that provides free or low-cost health care to Dominicans and Haitian descendants. The project also included installing a septic system to provide even more services to patients, doctors, and administrators.

After conquering the rains of Hurricane Irene (2011), EWB began working on water quality and installing several latrines to improve health conditions for Batey Santa Rosa residents.

The organization is now investigating future projects throughout the world.

Elsewhere during quarter break, 14 students joined four faculty members in learning about Japanese culture during a visit to Rose-Hulman’s educational partners in Japan. The trip was organized by Scott Clark, PhD, professor of anthropology and an expert on Japanese culture and cross-cultural consulting.

Students exchanged ideas with students and professors from Japan’s Kanazawa Institute of Technology and International Pacific University, and visited cultural locations in Tokyo. Rose-Hulman faculty joining Clark in the trip were Terrence Casey, PhD, head of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences; Maki Hirotani, PhD, associate professor of Japanese; and Samuel Martland, PhD, associate professor of history and Latin American studies.

Later this spring, sophomore physics student Gavin West will travel to Brussels, Belgium, to make an oral presentation on his undergraduate research at the International Society for Optics and Photonics-Europe conference. His research on high-intensity lasers covers the topic “Volume Holographic Grating Stabilized 780 nm VECSEL.” West’s faculty mentor has been Paul Leisher, associate professor of physics and optical engineering.

RHIT Drumline 4

Enjoying Japanese Culture: Students participate in one of several cultural activities during a quarter-break trip to Japan. 

Meanwhile, a group of students and professors will once again spend a portion of the summer learning about Kenya through a field studies program that expands international experiences. The trip will explore topics discussed during this spring quarter’s Geography of Africa course, taught by geography professor Michael Kukral, PhD.

A major focus of a field studies program is to learn about the resources, people, economy, and geography of a specific region. Students also will spend about 12 days with professional guides and international professors, while also learning about the vast diversity of life, land, and wildlife throughout Kenya.

Joining Kukral in the trip will be Kenyan native Richard Onyancha, PhD, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Ella Ingram, PhD, associate professor of applied biology and biomedical engineering.