MRO Magazine

Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) in IEEE Fosters STEM Learning Through Practical Application of Engineering Principles


June 1, 2016
By Business Wire News

PISCATAWAY, N.J.

IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, today announced recent milestone projects of EPICS in IEEE. EPICS in IEEE enables university and high school students to design and implement meaningful service learning engineering projects, and to improve the lives of citizens in their own communities through funding and local partners. With a global focus on underserved communities, EPICS in IEEE is helping advance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning around the world, with a model that addresses the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to closing existing technology gaps, while also encouraging a new generation of engineers through education, hands-on work and practical experience.

“It’s truly rewarding to see the excitement and enthusiasm in the eyes of young people who are making a difference in their communities by working on EPICS in IEEE projects,” said Dr. Nicholas Kirsch, chair, EPICS in IEEE Committee. “We are continually surprised by the innovation and technological capabilities demonstrated by our young project leads and, through our collaboration, see firsthand the impact EPICS in IEEE can make in the daily lives of people around the world. The work being conducted today serves as a catalyst for future projects initiated by the very students who move into engineering careers and become motivated to leverage what they’ve learned about how technology can be advanced for humanity’s benefit.”

EPICS in IEEE projects are key to advancing STEM learning and attracting young people to the engineering profession. The students making a difference today represent tomorrow’s future leaders who are uniquely informed through their own experiences on how to mentor and encourage upcoming students, making EPICS in IEEE a uniquely self-perpetuating program for advancing education and technology. EPICS in IEEE projects are engineering related and address local community-service needs as they pertain to education and outreach, access and abilities, the environment, and human services. Some examples of EPICS in IEEE projects that are pushing forward technological innovation and making measurable social impacts include:

  • A project to develop an American Sign Language audio/text translator based on digital image processing that has been initiated by IEEE student members at RNS Institute of Technology in Bangalore, India
  • A virtual reality project to treat binocular dysfunction, a condition where individuals’ eyes are unable to work together, with a home device being developed by four New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) students and two high school students
  • A University of New Hampshire Oyster Restoration Program is helping restore the oyster population in New Hampshire’s Great Bay, giving UNH and high school students real-world engineering experience and demonstrating local environmental benefit
  • A project by Arizona State University students in Panama using Lego Mindstorm kits and electronic and computer components to build robotic snakes and teach engineering concepts to middle and high school students—a project now being expanded with outreach to U.S. students
  • An initiative by members of the IEEE STEM (iSTEM) Club at New Jersey’s Bridgewater-Raritan High School to help students in Paushi, a rural village in India. Partnering with IEEE volunteers and Kreeya, a non-profit, the iSTEM Club used EPICS in IEEE grants to develop a basic library, help install computers, and plan and design a new cyber classroom
  • Developing Uganda Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Platform in partnership with Humanitarian Innovation Technical Institute (HITI) and students from local university and secondary schools to identify and pursue worthwhile projects in country
  • An engineering and bio-intensive agriculture project in Nicaragua where university students from Vassar College, the University of Managua, and high school students are developing strategies for water collection and slow drip irrigation to combat drought conditions
  • Collaboration between IEEE student members at Drexel University, North Penn High School and the Clean Air Council on the creation and ongoing enhancement of sensor networks monitoring and providing vital air quality data in Philadelphia
  • Project using harmonic radar systems to track and alleviate insect infestations in South African crops, improving yields and increasing food production

EPICS in IEEE projects are made possible through industry support and charitable donations. To date, more than 75 projects have been initiated or completed with the participation of more than 250 IEEE volunteers. EPICS in IEEE projects have directly impacted over 150,000 individuals worldwide, and involved the participation of more than 500 university students and 1100 pre-university students. The program has also established a track record of reaching out to female and underrepresented minority students who normally wouldn’t go into STEM fields of work.

For more information on EPICS in IEEE, including information on membership and volunteering, grant applications, and donations, please visit the new website at www.epicsinieee.org.

To stay abreast of the latest EPICS in IEEE news and projects, visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/epicsinieee and follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EPICSinIEEE.

About IEEE

IEEE is the largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice in a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers, and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power, and consumer electronics. Learn more at http://www.ieee.org.

About IEEE Foundation

As the philanthropic arm of IEEE, the IEEE Foundation inspires the generosity of donors so it may enable IEEE programs that enhance technology access, literacy and education, as well as support the IEEE professional community.

The IEEE Foundation, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization in the United States, fulfills its purpose by soliciting and managing donations, recognizing the generosity of our donors, awarding grants to IEEE grassroots projects of strategic importance, supporting high impact Signature Programs, serving as a steward of donations that empower bright minds, recognize innovation and preserve the history of technology. With donor support, the IEEE Foundation strives to be a leader in transforming lives through the power of technology and education.

EPICS in IEEE
Ray Alcantara, Program Manager, +1 732-981-2867
r.alcantara@ieee.org
or
Interprose for EPICS in IEEE
Minu Seshasayee, +1 425-868-3829
Minu_Seshasayee@interprosepr.com