Since its founding in 1995 at Purdue University, the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) in IEEE program has been offering nonprofit organizations with expertise to enhance and ship companies to their neighborhood whereas broadening undergraduate EE college students’ hands-on experiences.
In 2009 the EPICS program was dropped at IEEE by Moshe Kam, an IEEE Fellow and the 2005–2007 vp of IEEE Educational Activities; Senior Member Kapil Dandekar; and Fellow Saurabh Sinha. Collectively they based EPICS in IEEE as an IEEE Academic Actions program. Funding for this system got here from a seed grant by way of the IEEE New Initiatives Committee.
This 12 months this system marks its fifteenth anniversary.
“After we created EPICS in IEEE,” Dandekar says, “we have been very desirous to align the attitude of service-learning from the EPICS program at Purdue with IEEE’s mission to foster technological innovation for the good thing about humanity.
“I’m notably happy with the persevering with stakeholder engagement by engineers with humanitarian organizations in shaping tasks. I firmly consider that this results in a greater studying expertise for the engineering college students and a extra helpful consequence for the humanitarian accomplice group.”
In the course of the previous 15 years, greater than 219 tasks in 34 nations have been accomplished, involving greater than 11,000 college students in service-learning tasks. Of these college students, 47 p.c recognized as feminine.
“EPICS in IEEE has performed a key function in increasing the worldwide attain of tasks during which engineering college students carry their studying and expertise to bear in addressing challenges confronted by their native communities,” says Leah Jamieson, 2007 IEEE president and a cofounder of EPICS at Purdue, which is in West Lafayette, Ind. “By tackling neighborhood wants within the areas of entry and talents, training and outreach, human companies, and the surroundings, college students taking part in EPICS in IEEE are gaining firsthand expertise in marrying engineering and neighborhood. Mission by challenge, they’re contributing to IEEE’s aim of advancing expertise for the good thing about humanity.”
A concentrate on studying outcomes
This system differs from different humanitarian efforts inside IEEE due to its concentrate on engineering-student studying outcomes in addition to the advantages to the native communities.
“EPICS in IEEE is an ideal approach to merge engineering training and engagement,” Sinha says. “It supplies a possibility for universities to attach their college students’ academic experiences to help the U.N. sustainable development goals.
“I’ve had the privilege of seeing EPICS in IEEE in lots of nations,” he provides, “and loved the globalizing profit that this system dropped at all events concerned.”
“By tackling neighborhood wants within the areas of entry and talents, training and outreach, human companies, and the surroundings, college students taking part in EPICS in IEEE are gaining firsthand expertise in marrying engineering and neighborhood.” —Leah Jamieson, 2007 IEEE president and cofounder of EPICS at Purdue.
In Panama, engineering college students from Universidad Tecnológica de Panama’s electrical engineering and pc science departments used their tech know-how to make the college’s campus more accessible for folks with disabilities. They employed a 3D printer to make indicators in braille, they constructed a wheelchair, they usually automated the college’s doorways to enhance entry.
In follow-up surveys about their EPICS in IEEE participation, college students have shared that it was not like something they did within the classroom.
“This expertise has been a profound studying alternative,” says Leonardo Vergara, a techniques engineering scholar at Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, in Colombia.
“My collaboration and communication expertise have additionally been significantly enhanced,” Vergara provides. “It has reaffirmed my perception in expertise’s energy to create constructive social influence and ignited a way of social accountability.”
To take this system to the following stage, EPICS in IEEE in 2014 created a fund by way of the IEEE Foundation to assist donors help this system. The Basis is IEEE’s philanthropic accomplice.
EPICS in IEEE continues to accomplice with EPICS Purdue and participates in its University Consortium, a community of establishments that strives to share concepts and help improvement for service-learning applications.
“Over the previous 15 years, the time period service studying has been evolving and is usually now known as community-engaged studying,” says IEEE Member Stephanie Gillespie, chair of EPICS in IEEE. “This up to date terminology higher displays the numerous function the neighborhood has within the studying course of. EPICS in IEEE requires vital community-partner engagement alongside the IEEE and scholar involvement as a result of this partnership with a neighborhood group is extra prone to result in long-term challenge help and upkeep as soon as deployed right into a neighborhood.
“As the sphere of service studying and community-engaged studying evolves, so does EPICS in IEEE. We’re excited to have a good time how far EPICS in IEEE has are available in 15 years.”
Previously two years, the committee has seen elevated curiosity in service studying, reviewing 190 proposals in 2023, in contrast with 77 the 12 months earlier than. The committee permitted 39 tasks final 12 months, up from 23 in 2022.
This system has streamlined its processes and elevated its advertising efforts. It now supplies extra sources to assist make sure the success of the tasks. As well as, EPICS volunteers have strengthened partnerships with IEEE affinity teams, technical societies, and areas and sections to boost consciousness of this system amongst scholar and IEEE members.
EPICS in IEEE is commemorating its 15th anniversary with quite a lot of occasions. The celebration kicked off through the IEEE Rising Stars convention, held from 5 to 7 January in Las Vegas. On the convention, program volunteers and workers members gave shows about its progress, and scholar groups showcased their prototypes.
Digital occasions are deliberate for this 12 months, in addition to tales posted on the EPICS in IEEE web site, highlighting previous and present tasks.