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Sustainable Energy: A Bridge Between Engineering, Developing Nations And Inner City Youth

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

New Research & Trends for Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1153.1 - 15.1153.9



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Paper Authors


Paul Imbertson University of Minnesota-ECE

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Paul Imbertson received the BS (83) MS (94) and PhD (97) in electrical engineering, all from the University of Minnesota. He has worked in power electronics for military avionics and is currently a Teaching Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota, where he has been voted Best Professor eight times. His current interests include the wide ranging topics of energy and deciphering the minds of electrical engineering students.

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Anders Sonnenburg Xcel Energy

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Anders Sonnenburg holds a Bachelors Degree from the University of Minnesots Electrical Engineering program. He works for Xcel Energy in their Strategic Technology Department, investigating renewable energy generation, storage and transmission technologies for Xcel. He was involved in the deployment of Xcel Energ⁹s†Smart Grid Cit⁹ project in Boulder, Colorado.

As an EE student, he helped develop curriculum and projects, as well as source materials required for BRIDGE’s outreach work. Mr. Sonnenburg became a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) student organization, and continues to volunteer time with the student organizations.

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Munira Masoud Xcel Energy


Meron Demissie Mortenson Construction

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Meron Demissie is currently working at Mortenson Construction as a Field Engineer in their Renewable Energy Group after receiving her Bachelos degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Minnesota in May of 2008. Meros interest in Wind Energy started following her introduction to the BRIDGE project in 2006 through her active involvement and leadership in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).
Meron’s main responsibility at work includes overseeing the electrical aspect of the project such as the Underground Collection, Substation, Interconnect & Transmission lines of a Wind Farm Project. She had the opportunity to work on projects ranging from 47 to 83 Turbines in states such as Washington, California, Iowa and Idaho.

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

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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