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Community Service Driven Student Senior Project and back to Community for Implementation

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Innovative Teaching in Architectural Engineering

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.305.1 - 23.305.12



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Paper Authors


James P. Mwangi P.E. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Dr. James Mwangi received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, a Master of Science degree from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of California, Davis, all in in Civil Engineering (structures)
Dr. James Mwangi is currently an Associate Professor in the Architectural Engineering Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in concrete, steel, timber and masonry. He is a registered civil engineer and a registered structural engineer in the state of California.
Dr. Mwangi is a member of the Structural Engineers Association of Central California, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, American Society of Civil Engineers, the Structural Engineers Institute and active member of The Masonry Society (TMS), serving as a voting member on the Masonry Standards Joint Committee and on the TMS’s Technical Activities Committee.
Dr. Mwangi is a certified Disaster Service Worker (Safety Assessment Program) for the state of California Emergency Management Agency. His other interests are in post-disaster structural mitigation and consulting structural engineering.

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Community Service Driven Student Senior Project and back to Community for ImplementationAbstractAfter the devastating earthquake of January 2010 destroyed most of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, andkilled hundreds of thousands of people, many international non-governmental organizations(NGOs) descended on the Caribbean island nation to help not only in search and rescue but alsoin the reconstruction.The author took with him three architectural engineering undergraduate students from____University to Haiti to help in the reconstruction efforts for one week. The students were somuch motivated to volunteer their services to the community that three summer internships wereorganized for the students through one of the many NGOs in Haiti. The students spent most ofthe summer out in the community and were able focus on what the community was lacking inorder to move forward with safe repairs of damaged buildings and construction of safe andsustainable earthquake resistant buildings.By the end of the summer internships, two of the students had identified a problem that needed tobe addressed which in turn became their respective senior projects. This paper reports on thetwo senior projects that were driven by the community service. The scope of the first projectwas to manufacture and test applicability of a device that may be used to accurately determinethe compressive strength of concrete masonry block in the field. The device had to be easy totransport, easy to use for unskilled operators and gave test results were easy to interpret that wereavailable on the spot. The second project’s scope was to design and test a training device forbuilding professionals to demonstrate the behavior of confined masonry buildings under a cyclic(earthquake) loading. Simulation of earthquake loading by shaking the table and removal ofsome building elements made it easier to communicate the design concepts during the trainings.Upon graduation, the two students were offered employment by two different NGOs in Haitiwhere they are currently implementing the results of their senior projects back in the community.

Mwangi, J. P. (2013, June), Community Service Driven Student Senior Project and back to Community for Implementation Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19319

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