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Impact Award, Fall 2018

Tyrine Jamella Pangan

Tyrine Pangan’s family moved to the United States from the Philippines, their native country in Southeast Asia, when she was a child. She recalls hearing stories as she grew up about how education brought people out of poverty.

“My parents made a lot of sacrifices to earn their college degrees and that enabled my family to have a better life,” Pangan says.

The educational opportunities Pangan was provided have motivated her “to use my privilege to help others and to give back to the community,” she says.

IMPACT Awards recognize graduating students in Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering who have contributed to the betterment of fellow students and to communities beyond the university.

Pangan’s efforts fulfilled those criteria in exceptional fashion.

Through the Fulton Schools’ GlobalResolve organization, she joined projects to help people in developing countries gain access to basic resources such as energy and clean water — work that took her to the African country of Kenya twice.

With another Fulton Schools group, SolarSPELLPangan traveled to the Pacific islands of Tonga and Vanuatu to help train U.S. Peace Corps volunteers to use a solar-powered learning library tool in their classrooms. 

Study-abroad programs broadened her international educational endeavors with trips to Paris, Berlin and Brussels.

As an undergraduate research assistant to Fulton Schools Associate Professor Shawn Jordan, Pangan helped to develop engineering curriculum for young students in Navajo Nation schools.

She worked at summer STEAM Machine camps where Navajo youngsters built rudimentary chain-reaction machines as a way to learn basic science, technology, engineering, art and math skills.

Though it all, Pangan says she learned that bringing technologies into underserved communities is not a surefire solution for societal challenges.

“You need to work directly with the communities and invest time in learning what their needs really are,” she says.

On ASU’s Polytechnic campus, Pangan was a Fulton Ambassador and a Barrett Honors Devil. Both groups gave campus tours and shared their university experiences with prospective ASU students and their parents.

She also was a Fulton Summer Academy camp counselor — helping to teach basic computer science concepts and robotics to students in the fourth, fifth and and sixth grades  — and a field trip guide for students in a National Transportation Institute summer camp.

All the community outreach, teaching, mentoring and research has changed Pagan’s initial plans to seek a software engineering or computer engineering job in industry after graduation.

That array of experiences “inspired a passion” for a different career direction, she says. Next year, Pangan will begin studies for a doctoral degree in engineering education.

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