Humanitarian Engineering

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Summary Sentence:

Engineering touches many aspects of human existance.

Full Summary:

"Humanitarian Engineering" or "Socially Responsible Engineering" may be new terms for some, but engineering students at Georgia Tech are finding that these concepts underlie much of what they study. Humanitarian engineering places strong emphasis on the engineering activities that impact those who lack the means to address pressing problems, such as clean water or earthquake resistant buildings. In other instances, humanitarian engineering addresses issues that affect populations around the world regardless of socio-economic standing: recycling, privacy, and climate change. Consequently, engineers are increasingly studying the impact of products and services on everyday life.

Kay Kinard, Acting Director of Communications
College of Engineering

“Humanitarian Engineering” or “Socially Responsible Engineering” may be new terms for some, but engineering students at Georgia Tech are finding that these concepts underlie much of what they study. Humanitarian engineering places strong emphasis on the engineering activities that impact those who lack the means to address pressing problems, such as clean water or earthquake resistant buildings. In other instances, humanitarian engineering addresses issues that affect populations around the world regardless of socio-economic standing: recycling, privacy, and climate change. Consequently, engineers are increasingly studying the impact of products and services on everyday life.

At Tech, humanitarian engineering concepts are prevalent both inside and outside the classroom. The following are just a few examples of how students are learning and applying engineering concepts to benefit society.

Last year, a group of Industrial Engineering students contacted the World Food Programme, the arm of the United Nations responsible for food aid. The students began looking at how they could assist the organization in their supply chain and inventory management systems as part of their senior design project. Their objective was to redesign The World Food Programme’s supply chain with the goal of maximizing the number of people fed given the financial resources.

Students in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering have been working with faculty member Reggie DesRoches in stabilizing the infrastructure in post-Katrina Louisiana as well as in Haiti following last year’s devastating earthquake.

In many parts of the world, poor medical infrastructure leads to the re-use of hypodermic needles, contributing to the spread of diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B. Professor Mark Prausnitz along with his students in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering are working on developing dissolving microneedle patches that would revolutionize how vaccines and medicines are administrated. In addition to eliminating the need to re-use needles, vaccinations could be be performed by personnel with minimal training thereby helping to make vaccines more accessible in areas with a shortage of medical personnel.

Georgia Tech also hosts an active Engineers Without Borders (EWB) student organization. EWB is an international, non-profit humanitarian organization established to partner with developing communities worldwide in order to improve their quality of life. EWB’s goal is to bring sustainable solutions to the developing world while building better engineers in the process.

There are many compelling opportunities at Tech for engineering students to make a difference in society. At Tech, students learn to not only create better products, but to make a positive, lasting impact on our world. Click here for more information on engineering at Georgia Tech.

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Status
  • Created By: Rachael Pocklington
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Dec 2, 2010 - 8:00pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:11pm