June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.596.1 - 22.596.12
Engineering Internships in Social Entrepreneurship: Developing Partnerships and Student PerspectivesAbstractThe School of LMN and the XYZ Center at the University of 123 are collaborating to providesocial entrepreneurship summer internships for engineering students. Social entrepreneurshipapplies business principles to ventures focused on solving social problems and has traditionallyheld greater appeal for international relations and business majors than for engineers. Partneringwith an existing social entrepreneurship internship program, this collaboration specifically seeksto involve engineering students in meaningful experiences abroad. This paper describes theinternship program and the experiences of three students over Summer 2010.The XYZ Center is a multi-disciplinary center providing students with hands-on projects andleadership opportunities in social entrepreneurship. The summer internship program seeks toprovide a rich experience for participants and to raise awareness of social entrepreneurshipwithin the student community. These opportunities allow students to learn first-hand thatsuccessfully implementing projects in emerging countries requires strong technical skills and afundamental understanding of local conditions. A project’s long-term success hinges on thedesigner’s understanding of local cultural, political, and contextual factors.During Summer 2010, two undergraduate engineering students and one graduate student fromthe University of 123 held internships working for social entrepreneurial organizations abroad. 㾛㾛혠 臈 ㈀ Civil Engineering undergraduate AE worked with ABC in Bangalore, India, where sheperformed population surveys of slum inhabitants and electronically mapped slum boundaries.She used these data to design a database that tracks slum boundaries and populationcharacteristics to facilitate micro-financing and infrastructure development within the slums.KH, an Engineering Management undergraduate student, spent eight weeks with DEF inNamibia. Her duties included tourism data analysis, goat cheese business planning, cheetah care,and analysis of production methods for ‘bushblok’, a fuel log produced using an invasive thornbush that poses a threat to wildlife. She proposed processes to improve efficiency andproductivity for bushblok production. FL, a Civil Engineering graduate student, worked withGHI in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where he helped plan and coordinate an international conference oncommunity water management programs. His duties included gathering information on waterquality and water infrastructure needs in small communities and identifying potentialcollaborative partners for regional community water organizations.The students were able to apply their technical skills towards gathering, collating, and analyzingdata. More importantly, they were required to apply general problem-solving skills inenvironments where language, culture, technical support and supervision were very differentfrom levels experienced during more ‘traditional’ internships with engineering firms in theUnited States. Students specifically cited understanding the role of engineering in a broadersocietal context as an invaluable lesson learned from their experience, and in all cases, theexperiences affirmed their decision to pursue engineering.Processes used to develop partnerships with social entrepreneurial organizations, fund students’travel, and prepare students for their experiences are described in the paper. Additionally,students’ experiences and skills developed during the internships are discussed and areas forimprovement are suggested based on students’ post-trip reflections.
Saviz, C. M., & Fernandez, A. A., & Basha, E. A., & Ellis, A. P., & Hammarstrom, K., & Leon, F., & Hildebrand, J. B., & Ton, S. (2011, June), Engineering Internships in Social Entrepreneurship: Developing Partnerships and Student Perspectives Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17877
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