Socially Impactful Engineering Design in a Virtual Space: South Africa

Overview: 

Virtual Engineering for Social Change- South Africa (ENGR 1603) is an experiential virtual learning course designed to provide engineering minded students (may be from any major) with an introduction to designing solutions to problems that impact humanity.

 

This course will be taught over six weeks in Summer 2021 virtually with active engagement with students in South Africa. 

 

You will  learn about social consequences of engineering decisions made by companies and other organizations in South Africa and discuss the rationale that led to those decisions during meetings with leaders, engineers, and other representatives from those parties.

 

The course aims to provide students across a range of disciplines the opportunity to work together on a consulting project with a South African company to develop strategies for tackling both broad, complex problems and specific, service focused challenges based on principles that are rooted in empathic engineering design. You will contextualize what makes specific approaches for problem solving successful locally, regional, nationally, and internationally.  Cultural sessions including a cooking hour, conversations with locals, and critical viewings of hip hop art will be provided to allow additional context for the course. 

 

The course will develop a student’s skills to work remotely with one another to iterate through the ideation and design process of problem solving and to appreciate the social and cultural challenges that lie within.

 

Travel to South Africa in 2022: 

 

If you take this course, Socially Impactful Engineering Design in a Virtual Space: South Africa, your application will be given preference for the study abroad program, Engineering Design for Social Change: South Africa.

 

What You'll Accomplish
As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will:

  • Have a basic understanding of the fundamental principles of empathic design to solve complex problems;
  • Have participated in a virtual multi-national team-based observation, data collection, analysis, and ideation;
  • Develop an appreciation of the engineering and social complexities associated with the need to ideate solutions to complex problems in cultures that are different than those in which they were raised;
  • Gain experience in assessing the differences between meeting these challenges on local, regional, national, and international scales.

A draft syllabus can be found here
 
Costs of the Program: 

The tuition for the program will be $2,328 for In-state students and $2,528 for out-of-state students. Additional Pitt fees are yet to be finalized, but please consult this website for more details on typical student fees. Refer to the "Part-time per term" fee on this document.  It's published as $304.  

 

Academic Description: 
Academics: This is an experiential virtual learning course designed to provide engineering minded students (may be from any major) with an introduction to designing solutions to complex problems that impact humanity. Students will see the social consequences of engineering decisions made by companies and other organizations in Africa and discuss the rationale that led to those decisions during meetings with leaders, engineers, and other representatives from those parties. The course aims to provide students across a range of disciplines the opportunity to interact and work together in multinational teams to ideate and develop strategies for tackling both broad, complex problems and specific, service, and social focused challenges based on principles that are rooted in empathic engineering design. Students in the multi-national teams will work on a consulting project with a South African company. Students will contextualize what makes specific approaches for problem solving successful locally, regional, nationally, and internationally. The course will develop the students’ skills to work remotely with one another to iterate through the ideation and design process of problem-solving and to appreciate the social and cultural challenges that lie within.
Application Instructions: 

Admissions Requirements:
 

  • This program is for students with a background in math and science 
  • Good academic and behavioral standing, in your second year or higher level at the time of application

 
GEPS Scholars- If you are a GEPS Scholar, please contact the office of diversity in SSoE bout how your scholarship can be applied to this program. 
 

SAO Staff: 

Dr. Diane Hardy Saran

Buna! That’s hello in Romanian.  After returning from being a Peace Corp volunteer in Transylvania- I decided to work in the field of international education helping international students.  Life took me back to Buffalo, NY (where I grew up- land of chicken wings)- and I worked for SUNY Buffalo for many years assisting international students and scholars.  In 2010, I moved to the ‘Burgh- and am now assisting engineering students to study abroad.  For fun I enjoy my two kiddos, yoga and fitness, international films, and travel (of course). Come talk with me about studying abroad!  dmhardy@pitt.edu |  412-624-9823 | 152 Benedum Hall -https://www.instagram.com/ssoeinternational/   |    www.facebook.com/SSOEIntProg  

 

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Steve Abramowitch, PhD

Steve Abramowitch, PhD. is an Associate Professor of Bioengineering, Musculoskeletal Research Center, and Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences. He earned his PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh. His research is aimed at elucidating the processes of injury, disease, and healing of connective tissues through an understanding of tissue mechanics and the complex relationships between composition, structure, and function. He is particularly interested in utilizing this information to establish new clinical treatment strategies and rehabilitation protocols to improve patient care in the fields of Orthopedics and Urogynecology. In 2008, Dr. Abramowitch became an NIH Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health Scholar (BIRCWH), which has allowed him to transition from his training in Orthopedics to Urogynecological research. Professor Abramowitch is one of only a few bioengineers in the country with this area as his primary research focus. His solid collaboration with Urogynecologist, Dr. Pamela Moalli, has led to a very productive relationship providing tremendous insight into the mechanisms of prolapse and the impact of polypropylene mesh following implantation for prolapse repair. In addition, this unique expertise has allowed him to be the only engineer who is part of clinical research (U01) being performed by the NICHD’s Pelvic Floor Disorders Network, whose members come from nine leading medical centers across the United States. These relationships have enabled him to maintain a significant translational focus within his work. 

 

 

Dr. Wosu

Dr. Wosu is the Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Pittsburgh. He earned his PhD in Engineering Physics from the University Oklahoma in 1988.  Dr. Wosu is also the program director for NSF S-STEM GEPS Program and NSF PITT STRIVE program.Dr. Wosu’s research expertise is in Dynamic Penetration and Fracture Mechanics of New Generation of Composite Materials, including Bio-Composites and Biosensors.  Dr. Wosu established a Dynamic Materials Behavior Lab equipped with a high speed imaging system capable of capturing dynamic events at 2 million frames per second, high-speed data acquisition system, Lab Ram System for characterization of solid, liquid and gases. 

E-mail: 

Sussan Yetunde Olaore

 
Sussan Yetunde Olaore is the PITT STRIVE Program Coordinator at the Swanson School of Engineering Office of Diversity. She currently manages the NSF grant that funds the PITT STRIVE program in the last three and half years.  She earned her Bachelor Degree in Human Resource Management from Point Park University, Pittsburgh. She’s currently pursuing a Master’s degree program in Higher Education Management at the University of Pittsburgh.  Her interests include working with graduate and undergraduate students and building bridges.
 

E-mail: 
Application Status: 
Currently Offered: 
Yes
Experience Type: