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RHIT Goes Global: Multicultural Engineers in Training

Tuesday, December 05, 2017
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The RHIT chapter of Engineers Without Borders works with local residents in developing countries to help address their basic human needs.

Building Friendships and Cultural Awareness

Engineers are trained to solve complex problems, and many take on challenges facing communities across the globe. For some, the first taste of cross-cultural relationships happen through the Exchange Student Buddy Program. The Buddy Program helps American-born students learn about another culture while helping international students acclimate to life in the U.S.

Rose-Hulman students seeking to become multicultural engineers have other opportunities, as well:

  • Engineers Without Borders USA partners with developing communities worldwide to improve their quality of life. The RHIT chapter works with local residents to help address their basic human needs, such as a current project constructing sanitary latrines in Ghana.
  • Study Abroad takes Rose-Hulman students to Europe, Asia, Oceania, North America, South America, Africa, Australia/Pacific Islands, and the Middle East. Our Office of Global Programs facilitates this through the Global E3 consortium and direct partnerships with institutions around the world. Studying abroad for the summer, a quarter or longer, at one of more than 60 engineering schools worldwide allows students to enhance their global awareness, develop leadership skills, and experience personal growth.

Two-Part Course Preps Students for Global Engineering

An interdisciplinary team of faculty has developed a two-part course to introduce students to global engineering issues. Geared toward first-year students but open to all, this series comprises a spring-term course, “Global Engineering and the Social Context I,” and a three-week summer travel course, “Global Engineering in the Social Context II.” Each part is worth two credits. There is no pre-requisite for the first course, but students are encouraged to take it before the travel course.

In summer 2018, the travel course will take students to China, and future courses will explore other parts of the globe. The 2018 itinerary will include visits in Beijing and Shanghai, while the bulk of the time will be spent at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan. There, Rose-Hulman students will collaborate on projects  with HUST students. While in Wuhan, the students will visit the legendary Three Gorges Dam and other engineering plants and sites of interest.

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Richard Onyancha is team leader for the global engineering course. He hopes to make the travel opportunity available to all who might benefit from the experience. “We are soliciting financial support to help subsidize the student cost for the travel course to ensure that no student is precluded from the course because of the expense,” he says.

Questions about Global Engineering and the Social Context can be addressed to any member of the course team:

  • Dr. Richard Onyancha – Mechanical Engineering - Lead
  • Dr. Rebecca Bercich – Mechanical Engineering
  • Dr. John Aidoo – Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Dr. Irene Reizman – Chemical Engineering
  • Dr. Deborah Walter – Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Dr. Timothy Grose – Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Dr. Kyle Kershaw – Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Ms. Kathy Hammett – Senior Director, Office of Global Programs