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High Tech High Touch: Lessons Learned from Project Haiti 2011

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Global Community Engagement in Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.693.1 - 25.693.8



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Paper Authors


Yan Tang Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach Orcid 16x16

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Yan Tang received a B.S. degree and a M.S. degree in automatic control theory and application from Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing, China, in 1995 and 1999, respectively. She received a Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla., in 2009. She is currently an Assistant Professor in mechanical engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla. Her research interests include intelligent control, robots, and applications of biomimicry techniques in engineering.

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Marc Compere Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach

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Marc Compere is an Assistant Professor of mechanical engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. Compere’s current research in sustainable technology focuses on water purification, concentrated solar power for electricity generation, water desalination, and solar powered air conditioning. He has developed and delivered two of Embry-Riddle’s solar powered water purification systems to Haiti with university students. His background is in modeling and simulation, hardware-in-the-loop and driver-in-the-loop control systems, robotics, mechatronics, vehicle dynamics, and hybrid electric power system dynamics.

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Yung Lun Wong

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Jared Anthony Coleman Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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Matthew Charles Selkirk Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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High Tech High Touch: Lessons Learned from Project Haiti 2011Abstract – In this paper, we will share our experiences and lessons learned from a design project(Project Haiti 2011) for providing clean water to a Haitian community. Supported by funds froma renewable energy company and the university president’s office, five engineering students andtwo faculty members from X University successfully designed and installed a solar poweredwater purifier for an orphanage located in Chambellan, Haiti. This paper discusses the uniqueeducational experiences gained from unusual design constraints such as ambiguity of existingfacilities due to limited communication, logistics of international construction at a remote villagelocation, and cross-cultural differences in water usage. Multiple positive outcomes wereachieved such as our students developing a global perspective, our faculty gaining experience inleading an overseas student trip, and the provision of daily water for children and surroundingcommunity in Haiti. Our student perspectives will be shared as well as the framework for supportfrom our community and university administration. Project Haiti 2011 was a big success for allthe participants and the stakeholders. We hope that this paper inspires others to pursue similarservice learning experiences and find a repeatable engineering education model for internationalcommunity improvement projects.

Tang, Y., & Compere, M., & Wong, Y. L., & Coleman, J. A., & Selkirk, M. C. (2012, June), High Tech High Touch: Lessons Learned from Project Haiti 2011 Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21450

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