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Cultural Anthropology And Engineering Design Do They Mix

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Technological Literacy II

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.359.1 - 9.359.7



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Paper Authors

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Robert Knecht

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3661


Robert Knecht

Colorado School of Mines

Abstract – This presentation relates the cultural of St. Kitts to the engineering design projects implemented by second-year students as part of their Design (EPICS) experience. Imagine an opportunity to practice engineering skills on a culturally diverse island as part of your undergraduate experience. St Kitts/Nevis is a Caribbean island inhabited mostly by descendants of Africans brought to the island to work on the plantations. Teams have mapped boundaries of the Wingfield wilderness area, have examined water and wastewater issue, and have studied soil stability and water erosion. The experience exposes students to a diverse and different culture. The combination of engineering and a culturally diverse setting challenges our second year students and broadens the scope of their engineering skills.

Imagine an opportunity to practice engineering skills on a culturally diverse island as part of your undergraduate experience. The Design-Engineering Practices Introductory Course Sequence (EPICS) program at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) offers students a three-week excursion to the Caribbean Island of St Kitts/Nevis complete with a challenge to map boundaries and trails for the National Park, to reduce erosion, or to improve water quality; all critical issues to the infrastructure of the Island. Contracting by the Department of Environment and Tourism, teams from the International (EPICS) course practice engineering design in a culturally diverse environment.

The Design (EPICS) program at CSM Technical introduces multi-disciplinary teams of first Process Knowledge and second year engineering students to Knowledge Values design, technical communications, and teamwork through an open-ended, client- Research based project. The program emphasizes an Skills Design Product

authentic engineering environment in which students explore a complex suite of skills, Computer Team depicted in Figure 1, through coaching and Skills Communication Skills mentoring from an experienced staff. Skills Students learn through practice how to use a Figure 1: Graphical Representation of Mission for Design variety of processes critical to decision (EPICS) Program making associated with engineering design. We take our international course to the island of St. Kitts/Nevis to add a cultural dimension to the program.

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Knecht, R. (2004, June), Cultural Anthropology And Engineering Design Do They Mix Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13595

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