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Environmental Competition Inspires University Students to Address Climate Change

Dr. Stephanie Gillespie

EPICS in IEEE, thanks to the grant from the United Engineering Foundation (UEF), successfully launched the EPICS in IEEE Environmental Competition for University Students. This competition has inspired teams of students to collaborate and engineer solutions to address local environmental concerns throughout the US. In addition, the competition allows engineering faculty to encourage students to address local challenges through community service learning.

Since the competition launch, the committee has approved and funded seven projects from five different US based Institutions. From a litter-collecting robot for a local lake to nitrogen-sensing drones for understanding air quality, these projects provide hands-on learning and community engagement experiences crucial for professional skills development for secondary and university students. A dozen volunteers worked with 10 secondary school students and 72 university students on the projects. 

Phase 1 Funded Projects

  • “Hydration Station” by students of Arizona State University EPICS
  • “Henry County Aquaponics in the Park” by students of Morehouse College
  • “Spatial Extent Monitoring of Coast Sunny-Day Flooding” by students of North Carolina State University
  • “Lake Litter Solutions” by students of Arizona State University EPICS
  • “Urban Gardens for Sustainable Education and Agriculture” by students of Ohio State University EPICS
  • “AZGFD– Aeration” by students of Arizona State University EPICS
  • “Project DIANA” by students of Ohlone Community College

The EPICS in IEEE committee opened a Phase 2 call for project submission seeking 3-5 more worthy projects. Proposals were due by 7 May; watch the EPICS in IEEE website for news about Phase 2 project funding.

The Environmental competition isn’t the only thing new to EPICS in IEEE in 2022, the committee also welcomed two new additions–a new committee Chair and Program Manager. 

Dr. Stephanie Gillespie is the new chair and is the Associate Dean at the Tagliatela College of Engineering at the University of New Haven. She said, “After serving on the committee for three years, I am excited to have the opportunity to lead the committee as the chair.” She has been a service-learning practitioner for 5 years, including development of community partners and supporting student teams with real-world, client-based engineering. “I know the projects supported by EPICS in IEEE have a positive experience on both our students and our communities. I’m excited to continue the positive momentum our committee has established under our prior chair Samarth Deo, and expand the impacts of service learning across the globe,” Stephanie added. 

Ashley Moran, MBA, is the new Program Manager for EPICS in IEEE and brings a great deal of volunteer support, project management and communications/marketing experience. She has been with IEEE since 2019 and most recently was a program manager for the IEEE Standards Association. 

Your financial generosity to EPICS in IEEE enables more projects, to help more people, and contributes to the education of more students, while sharing knowledge worldwide.

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