Global Engineering Outreach Study Abroad

Location of Program: Peru (Lima, Porcon, Uros Islands/Puno, and Cusco)      Year: 2017
Program Director(s): Randy Lewis and Terri Bateman
Participating Major(s): All engineering/technology majors


Students were assigned problems to solve for one of two different communities in Peru—Porcon and Puno. In Porcon, the team working with local restaurants designed a smoker for fish and other meats and taught the community how to build and use the smoker. Another team automated a previous hand-crank machine to seal tea bags. In Puno, the teams helped make washing machines and refrigeration without electricity for families living on the islands. In addition, several GEO students visited past projects, such as the water pumps located on several different islands, to see if any needed repair or replacement. 

Recap of the Year:

Leadership Development 
All projects were student-led. They learned how to work in a team, hold each other accountable, and set reasonable timelines and goals. While professors were present for advice and suggestions, the professors left the initiative and decision-making up to the students. 

Global Agility
Students learned the importance of clear communication and explored how a solution to a problem takes in many variables, such as location, cultural norms, and materials available. Students learned how to change their solutions in accordance to different factors and how to think creatively. Students increased their knowledge on how to present engineering ideas to non-engineers and how to adapt their processes and communication across cultural and language barriers.

Technical Experience
Students had the opportunity to apply what they learned in theory to the real world. Students spent several classes in a variety of technical shops learning how to use new machines, tools, and processes. Working in teams made up of different engineering disciplines required each student to apply their own skill set to complete the final project. For example, on one project electrical students designed a circuit board to control the motor, manufacturing and mechanical students designed and built the encasement for the machine, and the chemical engineering student measured specifications for maximum heat toleration.  


Student Experiences

“This trip was a unique and fulfilling experience. I loved being able to experience the communities we went to not as a tourist, but as a partner with the people. Normally, while you are traveling, you don't get an opportunity to spend time with real people doing normal activities, but this trip let us work alongside tea makers, bakers, cooks, shop keepers, and community leaders.”- Emily Long

“Going to Peru taught me how to apply engineering both cross-culturally and across socioeconomic backgrounds. It helped me to slow down and learn to explain engineering concepts in a way that others can understand and apply themselves.”- Scott Egbert