June 14, 2014
June 14, 2014
June 14, 2014
20.37.1 - 20.37.14
Sustainability Challenges & the Opportunities for Global Engagement: Linking Caribbean secondary school classrooms and Engineering Departments at US Universities Sustainability is recognized as critical for the framing of engineering research andeducation with unique opportunities for engineering student training through non--traditionaluniversity partnerships, including international ones. With limited natural resources, highvulnerability to catastrophic events, and isolated by sea, Caribbean islands have been pushing forsustainable development and have championed adaptation as the main mechanism to deal withclimate change. Actual demonstration projects or widespread educational initiatives needed tosolve issues like water scarcity are few and only a very small work force has training in ScienceTechnology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). This paper discusses a secondary schoolstudent challenge that was developed in the Caribbean to address these issues with particularattention paid to Belize and the types of linkages that evolved with US based engineeringstudents and the ways in which students in the Caribbean and the US were exposed to a globalenvironment. The Sagicor Visionaries Challenge (sagicorvisionaries.org), conceived, implemented &sponsored by the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF), the Caribbean Examinations Council(CXC), and Sagicor in partnership with Ministries of Education in twelve different Caribbeancountries, aims to promote sustainable Caribbean communities through innovation in science,technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). For 2013 it asked secondary school studentsin the Caribbean to identify a challenge facing their school and or community, propose asustainable and innovative solution, and show how that solution uses STEM? Teacher andstudent sensitization workshops were organized in each country. Teachers supervised the studentprojects with support from mentors who were either local or virtual. Mentors includedprofessionals and faculty and students from institutions like the University of the West Indies,MIT, Georgia Tech, UC Irvine, Auburn University, Mount Union College, Dartmouth College,the University of Toronto, & the University of South Florida. One hundred and seventy-five(175) projects entered the competition, representing 900 students ranging in age from 11 to 19.Secondary schools in the Caribbean would be equivalent to a combination of US middle andhigh schools. Twenty four projects entered the challenge from Belize, two of which were formallyengaged with student classes from two different US universities. A teacher and 5 students from aprivate secondary school in Caye Caulker, a Belizean island, were matched with a mentor at aUS University. That mentor required the twenty students in his senior level GeospatialTechnologies for Systems Engineering class work on the Belize request to design a compostingsystem based on material, financial, and local environmental constraints. Teams of two to threeuniversity students worked with the teacher and students from Belize and presented theirfindings via SKYPE and as a written report. While being mentored by a local Belizean engineeron a stormwater management project for their school in Belize City, connections were made to aProfessor of Civil Engineering at a US university who focused her International EngineeringField Experience course on their project. In May 2013 fifteen students from her class visitedBelize to survey the site, teaching survey methods to the secondary school students as well. InMay 2014 another group will visit to continue working on the project which involves thecreation of a detention pond and an ecological park for outdoor laboratory experiments.
Trotz, M. A., & Howard, J., & Thomas, K. D., & Muga, H., & Badenock, J. C., & Francis, S. A. (2014, June), Sustainability Challenges & the Opportunities for Global Engagement: Linking Caribbean secondary school classrooms and Engineering Departments at US Universities Paper presented at 2014 ASEE International Forum, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--17200
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