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What’s Happening at Elizabethtown College!

What’s happening at Elizabethtown College?

I travel among 15 Innovation Transfer Network member schools in Central PA learning what our faculty are excited about and write this blog to share the latest happenings at our schools. Elizabethtown College has programs and projects that they are proud to share. One is an undergraduate summer program called SCARP. I didn’t know that E-town College has a Peacemaker-in-Residence, did you? Dr. Sara Atwood is achieving national recognition for helping women advance in Engineering and Dr. Kurt DeGoede is building a collaborative with the University of The Gambia including both business and engineering students.

Let me start with undergraduate student summer research. I attended the presentations from the SCARP program in July. SCARP is an acronym for the Scholarship, Creative Arts and Research Projects. It is a non-credit experiential learning program for undergraduate students. Students work with faculty researchers and scholars gaining experience in a personalized mentoring environment. For participating in the program, students also receive a training stipend and room and board for the duration (from 3 to 10 weeks) of their projects. Twenty two students completed projects in Psychology, Math, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Computer Science and Social Work this summer. While some students are entering their senior year, one was a first year student. Enthusiasm was the underlying theme in all of the work. Want to learn more about SCARP? Follow this link http://www.etown.edu/offices/research/summer-scholarship.aspx

At Elizabethtown College, Jon Rudy is Peacemaker-in -Residence. As Jon says, “I have more than twenty five years of learning from my mistakes in more than 30 countries in Asia and Africa.” Jon is a faculty at the Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking (CGUP) at Elizabethtown College, which was started in 2004. Jon has worked in places like Somaliland where they have enjoyed 10-12 years of stability in a peaceful separation from Somalia. For the past 12 years, Jon has been facilitating courses at the Mindanao Peace building Institute, MPI, in the Philippines. Being a middle child with a theological bent toward inner peace, Jon finds common ground in peoples seeking outer peace. Jon says, “The human heart is more capable than we think it is, and openheartedness is the starting point in the restorative processes of peace building”. He is seeking support from the US Institute of Peace for his work in Somaliland, where he returns this December. His schedule includes Laos in January and the Philippines in May, 2014. Meanwhile, back on campus, Jon teaches courses in the Peace and Conflict studies minor and promotes restorative practices on campus. Jon Rudy’s web pages may be accessed by clicking on these links http://peacebuildingglobal.com/ and http://facultysites.etown.edu/rudyje/ .

Helping women to advance in Engineering is one thing that Dr. Sara Atwood is passionate about. She was the national awardee for the Apprentice Educator Grant award from the Women In Engineering Division of the American Society for Engineering Education, 2011. Only one award is given each year. Dr. Atwood also advised an award winning woman undergraduate researcher which resulted in a publication in a top biomedical journal. The student researcher was able to travel to Puerto Rico and present at a well-recognized international conference, where she earned second place for the research. While Dr. Atwood’s formal training is in biomedical engineering, she has discovered a passion for applying scholarly inquiry to pedagogy, which directly enhances the student experience. Sara’s areas of interest include: issues of persistence for women engineering students and faculty, first year student pedagogy, retention, and motivation, K-12 programs and outreach, particularly those led by undergraduates, and creativity as a factor in the recruitment and retention of engineers. Dr. Atwood participates in OASIS as part of the STEM-UP grant funded program. She identifies with women in STEM and recalls being the only woman in her classes. A goal is to increase the percentage of women engineering students at Elizabethtown to 30%-40%, as this is considered a critical mass where women assimilate more easily.

Dr. Atwood recently has been named Principal Investigator for an NSF S-STEM award for $531,885 to fund a scholarship program with an engineering education research component titled: Engineering Practices with Impact Cohort (EPIC) Scholarship for High Achieving Women in Engineering at Elizabethtown College. This grant will provide tuition and support funding for four women students each year for 4 years. The Engineering Department at Elizabethtown wants to increase the number of women entering engineering and retain them by enhancing their experience. Dr. Atwood and Elizabethtown College are committed to making this happen. To learn more about this energized researcher and her scholarship program please click on these links to the following web pages http://www.etown.edu/depts/physics-engineering/epic-scholarship.aspx
and https://etown.digication.com/ENGR_atwoods/Home//%20target=

After spending a year as a visiting professor at the University of The Gambia (UTG) in 2010-11, Dr. Kurt DeGoede is working to build a student based collaborative between Elizabethtown College and the University of The Gambia. One aspect of this project is the design and assembly of low cost, ($10 US), solar chargers for cell phones. Cell phones are one of the most important advances to help lift people out of poverty and over 65% of Gambian households have one. Commercially available chargers sell for about $60 US in the Gambia, but few are able to afford one. Today, the team is assembling prototype phone charges for long term field testing in The Gambia.
Two new courses have been introduced to UTG in parallel with similar courses at E-town, Engineering Design and Solar Engineering. Dr. DeGoede enjoys learning with the students and the “Let’s figure this out together” approach. It extends to working side by side with the University of The Gambia faculty and students to find and develop solutions to problems together. Gambian students have independently applied their knowledge and confidence in the design and assembly of a solar charging system for a mosque, under the guidance of UTG faculty. They are also starting work on a project where women will assemble solar panels from damaged cells (a waste product of commercial manufacturing).
But the collaboration extends well beyond Engineering. A team of International Business and Political Science students are developing a business plan to assemble, distribute and sell the phone chargers in The Gambia. This business will most likely start as a Community Based Organization which is a not for profit recognized by the Gambian government. The sustainable business model reflects the Elizabethtown Motto “Educate for Service”. It works to move aid away from a charity model, with an economically sustainable solution that is self-propagating and fosters the development of the skills that empower local solutions. “We have achieved our goal whenever solutions develop organically, and while our involvement is culturally enriching for all participants it is not required to solve the problem.”
This link will take you to Dr. DeGoede’s web page: https://etown.digication.com/degoede/Overview

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