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Dayton Engineer

Engineering students experience sustainable engineering in the rich, vibrant culture of Western Africa through The Ethos Center

By Lindsey Temple, The Ethos Center

University of Dayton School of Engineering seniors, Eric, electrical engineering, and Emma, chemical engineering, participated in a summer ETHOS Immersion with Academic City University College in Haatso, Ghana.

They worked hand-in-hand with faculty, technicians and students on various sustainability-focused projects. The Sustain City recycling project, a student-led club that builds plastic bottle receptacles in fascinating and eye-catching shapes, promotes proper waste management in Ghana. The Club also works with local grade schools to discuss STEM subjects and recycling habits.

For a local school, Emma and Eric used their design / build skills to engineer a receptacle in the shape of a rocket ship to contain hundreds of plastic bottles and pure-water sachets. They acquired all of their materials from local vendors and worked with skilled welders and other students to build the structures. 

On another project, Emma and Eric collaborated with a soon-to-be startup company created by engineering entrepreneurial students who just graduated from the University. The company will focus on healthcare related machinery such as an electric wheelchair, electric bicycles and a working ventilator. Eric put his electrical engineering skills to work testing controls for the wheelchair, LED drivers and learning C++ to control the wheelchair and its motors.

On weekends, they experienced new adventures while visiting Accra, the capital of Ghana, as well as other regions in Ghana. They tried countless local dishes and visited numerous nature parks.

"The people here are very friendly and learning different parts of their culture has been so much fun, such as learning Twi, one of the many languages spoken in Ghana, or learning to bargain with vendors," said Eric. "ETHOS has opened my eyes to numerous possibilities of sustainable engineering while experiencing a rich and vibrant culture in Western Africa."

"I am beyond blessed for this experience in Ghana,” said Emma. “The people I've met and the projects I've worked on have shown me how all you need is a vision and hard work to start making a difference.”

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