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Engineering takeaways and global snapshots from spring break

Engineering takeaways and global snapshots from spring break

Fulton Schools students from four different Arizona State University groups recently returned from trips to San Diego, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Peru over spring break. Like any spring breakers, they had plenty of fun in the sun, but these groups did more than take in the sights of their destinations — each group went to make a difference. Read on to learn about the different experiences and lessons students took away from their journeys.

Eric Arellano, Global Intensive Experience in Cuba

“Cuba just received access to the Internet last year. This was unfathomable to the computer science major within me. Even now, I was surprised to see how limited WiFi and Internet were in the country. While I do recognize this is just another valid way to live, the trip reenergized my faith in technology as a tool for advancing the social good. However, this desire for increased access to technology must be understood in terms of sustainability. It would be wrong for American companies to barge into Cuba imposing our Internet monopolies — rather, we should partner with the Cuban people to gain access to ICTs (information and communication technologies).” – Eric Arellano

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Brianna Celaya and Leslie Amaya, Global Intensive Experience in the Dominican Republic

“Cultural exchange can really contribute to the success and sustainability of projects. For awhile I have planned to use my knowledge of engineering to work with non-profits and create sustainable projects, but my visit to the Dominican Republic made me realize how the social aspects of non-profit work are just as important as the technical aspects. Without positive community response and support — projects will fail. As an engineering major, soft skills are something we must learn outside of the classroom and this trip allowed me to see which directions I should develop in to ensure success in my future work with non-profits.” – Brianna Celaya

“This study abroad made me want to use my construction skills in the future to help a large portion of individuals, for example by building sustainable houses or sustainable schools, hopefully in developing countries, at least for a small amount of time. Pursuing a degree sometimes makes us think about the money and the life we will have in the future, but sometimes we are too selfish to even realize that we could use our skills to help in places where you would be really needed. I also reevaluated the importance of sustainability and how we are consuming our resources day by day.” – Leslie Amaya

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Professional Science Master’s in Solar Energy Engineering and Commercialization Graduate Students in San Diego, California

“My favorite part of the trip was getting to know my classmates during work and play, as well as putting my theoretical knowledge to practical use. I built three rooftop solar systems with my teammates. We did it from scratch and by hand, utilizing all the engineering knowledge we have acquired to date. Sleeping in a large open room overlooking a beautiful lake with 10 teammates made it really enjoyable and fun. I was deeply touched by the strong sense of cultural identity and family unity of the Kumeyaay-Ipai people of the San Pasqual Reservation, and the beautiful nature of the site made this trip very memorable.” – Tomasz Jasinski

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GlobalResolve Club in Cusco, Peru

“Returning to the orphanage and being recognized by some of the children along with another returning member was my favorite part of the trip. This made me a better engineering student because I was able to implement a project we had been working towards and see how our efforts will directly benefit the orphanage. The kids at Azul Wasi definitely enjoyed the different STEM activities we did and participated in each one. I’m excited to see how we can continue to improve the quality of life at the orphanage next year.” – Damian Gudino

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