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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Experiencing the Ethos of UD

Last summer, three Academic City University College students in Ghana participated in a study-abroad experiential learning program through the School of Engineering’s Ethos Center. To further enhance global perspectives in its programs and initiatives, the School has partnered with Academic City since 2019. Fred McBagonluri ’05, president and provost of Academic City and a graduate of UD’s materials engineering doctoral program, has been one of the prime facilitators of this partnership.

Maame Twumasi, David Mensah and Wehdam Luguje who took part in the Ethos Center’s Dayton immersion experience, worked with local organizations including the Westside Makerspace, Greater West Dayton Incubator and the Makerspace of DECA High School. 

Participating in diverse projects, the students worked on planning entrepreneurship-focused events and building a school spirit store for DECA using 3D modeling software. They also worked on empowering local K-12 students through a Maker Day event, truly practicing engineering that matters and making an impact with our Dayton community partners.

“I interned at the Greater West Dayton Incubator where I learned a lot about being a global citizen, which is crucial to acquiring 21st-century skills,” Twumasi said.

Funded in part by gifts received during last year's One Day, One Dayton — UD’s annual day of giving — and by UD’s L. William Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, the GWDI makes essential space, capital and knowledge resources accessible to underrepresented or under-resourced businesses to give them a fair chance at succeeding in their endeavors.

During her time at the GWDI, Twumasi also learned transformational skills that will help her as she plans the growth of a business she’s starting.

“I was surprised by the opportunity to work in a field that deals with the business side of engineering,” Twumasi said. “I learned to think outside the box and be open to trying new problem-solving methods.”

For Mensah, the immersion program was an opportunity to merge engineering with community-driven initiatives.

“The chance to collaborate, design and implement solutions while making a tangible impact was a particularly appealing aspect of the program,” Mensah said. 

Sami Walker-Baskin, Westside Makerspace operations manager, worked directly with Mensah and Luguje, and was impressed by their knowledge and ideas for improving the makerspace community.

“The students already knew how to use a lot of the tools and equipment available in the maker space, and for anything they didn't know, they learned quickly,” Walker-Baskin said. She also appreciated the opportunity to learn about a new culture. “While they were an incredible help to us this past summer, my most memorable interaction was having conversations about their home country and America.”

Although the students have made their way back home to Ghana, they left with rich memories and a great appreciation for the transformative educational opportunities they experienced at UD. 

“Through my immersion experience, I came to recognize Dayton as a vibrant community with a strong commitment to collaborative problem-solving and innovation through initiatives like the Ethos program,” Mensah said. 

Opportunities like the immersion program are made possible through funding from donors who gave to the School of Engineering's Dean’s Fund for Excellence during One Day, One Dayton. Such opportunities help broaden the lens for the UD community by bringing an international perspective to Campus.

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