June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Minorities in Engineering
15.1153.1 - 15.1153.9
Sustainable Energy: A Bridge between Engineering, Developing Nations and Inner-City Youth
BRIDGE (Building Resources and Innovative Designs for Global Energy) is a project of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Since 2006 the BRIDGE Project at the University of Minnesota has been impacting students and communities across the state of Minnesota and around the world. Participants create designs for renewable energy systems from scrap, waste, or found materials. They use these designs as an easily understandable foundation for outreach in Minneapolis High Schools, bringing engineering concepts and methods to life for at-risk students. Ultimately, the designs become the core for collaborations in developing nations to implement renewable energy systems in remote communities. The BRIDGE Project employs a holistic approach to learning, using authentic pedagogy and community service to engage students in work that highlights the world-changing potential of engineering and puts students on the front lines of engineering in action. Everyone involved, from the university students of the National Society of Black Engineers, to the minority high school students, to the BRIDGE partners in economically depressed Nicaragua, take equal ownership in the project which, while educational, is ultimately a collaboration of people helping each other to reach a meaningful goal.
The BRIDGE Project started as a class project overseen by Michael Davis, a student from Southern Alabama University, who was participating in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the University of Minnesota. Mr. Davis led a group of incoming minority and female engineering students through the process of designing and building a wind turbine from scratch.
As instructive and interesting as this activity was, the students soon realized the broader value of their work and determined that their work should be brought out of the classroom. Plans were soon made to continue their work as a stand-alone project.
The University of Minnesota chapter of NSBE took the project under its wing and work began to define the scope of the project. The project took shape over a span of several months. After going through many variations, the BRIDGE model took on its final form based on three core areas - Design, Outreach, and Implementation:
Design – Along with BRIDGE’s partners in area high schools, and with INATEC and the National Engineering University in Nicaragua, University of Minnesota students develop sustainable renewable energy systems that can be built from scrap materials in remote areas, as well as curriculum for outreach and demonstration.
Outreach – BRIDGE members engage in numerous short and long term outreach activities with at-risk high school students across the state of Minnesota to expose high school students to the technical and social aspects of engineering, science, mathematics and culture.
Imbertson, P., & Sonnenburg, A., & Masoud, M., & Demissie, M. (2010, June), Sustainable Energy: A Bridge Between Engineering, Developing Nations And Inner City Youth Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16829
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