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Engineering Impact Report

Learning How Engineering Matters

Nearly twenty years ago, as an undergraduate engineering student, Christine Vehar Jutte, dreamed of having an impact in India by working in Mother Teresa’s ministry. That dream was not to be, but Jutte’s 2000 trip to India with the University’s Office of Campus Ministry and her passion for using her engineering skills to help others left a lasting legacy.

Jutte and three other students founded ETHOS, Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service-Learning, after then chair of mechanical engineering, Kevin Hallinan, challenged Jutte to design a program rather than a single piece of technology.

“I saw a need for a class, and I wanted students to view their engineering skills as a vocation to help others,” Jutte said.

The basics of the program — partnering with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), sustainability, use of appropriate technology, classes to prepare students for the experience and 10-week summer immersions are still in place. However, ETHOS has grown and changed as a result of the School’s strategic plan.

The ETHOS Program is now The ETHOS Center. Under the leadership of Malcolm Daniels, director of ETHOS and associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, the Center has expanded its offerings to include graduate student immersions, domestic semesters of service, shorter three- and 10-day breakaways, a year-round immersion calendar, and on-campus research to keep projects moving forward.

The ETHOS Center is funded by the School of Engineering.

Christine Vehar Jutte, co-founder of ETHOS

Christine Vehar Jutte and three other students founded ETHOS, Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service Learning, after then chair of mechanical engineering, Kevin Hallinan, challenged Jutte to design a program rather than a single piece of technology.

Andrea Mott, 2017 ETHOS Participant in Auroville, India

“My ETHOS experience provided me this glimpse into a life that I want to have — a life of engineering and service abroad.”

“The ETHOS program combines all of my passions,” said Andrea Mott, a 2018 mechanical engineering graduate who is completing her master’s degree at the University of Dayton in renewable and clean energy. “It combined my passions: adventure, engineering, service, travel, culture, growth and energy all into one amazing summer. My ETHOS experience provided me this glimpse into a life that I want to have — a life of engineering and service abroad.”

Mott spent the summer of 2017 in Auroville, India, volunteering with Minvayu, a small NGO that normally focuses on bringing wind turbines to rural villages in need of energy. Mott and her partner Grant Ross worked to design and build a 19-foot-tall delta 3D printer to print clay houses.

Because of India’s population growth and widespread poverty, there is a large need for affordable housing. 3D printing using cob (stacked earth) as a building material is cost effective and reduces time and labor costs for large construction projects.

Rob Greene, a former graduate assistant with The ETHOS Center who completed his master’s in civil engineering with an emphasis on environmental engineering, spent the summer of 2017 in Malawi serving as a project manager for a new high school complex under construction in the Karonga District. Wasambo High School, which accepted its first class of young men that fall, will eventually offer a boy’s school, a girl’s school, a technical college, and housing for students and teachers.

The project is being spearheaded by Determined to Develop, an NGO founded by University of Dayton graduate, Matt Maroon, and funded by University alumni and student fundraising efforts. Sixty-seven percent of Malawi’s population is under the age of 24, yet the country only has the capacity for 18 percent of them to attend high school.

Greene helped to oversee construction and is consulting on future construction plans. ETHOS has had a presence in Malawi since 2011 and worked with Malawians on projects from renewable technology to potable water.

“One of the most meaningful things I have learned from my time in Malawi is that no matter who you are, you can probably help someone, know someone who can help or you have the resources to learn how,” said Greene.

“At times, it seems like ETHOS has only complicated my plans, but now I understand that I don’t only have an opportunity but also a degree of responsibility to act to better benefit my community and greater-world community,” Greene said.

Rob Greene (red shirt), 2017 ETHOS Participant, Malawi, East Africa

“One of the most meaningful things I have learned from my time in Malawi is that no matter who you are you can probably help someone, know someone that can help or you have the resources to learn how.”

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