Below is the report on our first African Coordinators Workshop which was held last summer. The report is compiled by John Paul Eneku, our primary SciBridge coordinator in Africa.
Dear SciBridge Volunteers and Supporters,
In 2017, we were reminded of the continued need for global collaboration and understanding in the movement towards global energy sustainability. This month alone, three studies have concluded that extreme weather events that occurred in 2016 were due to human-linked climate change. The good news is that while the need for sustainable energy is more urgent than ever, SciBridge membership continues to grow in both the U.S. and Africa. This is only possible because students at our member universities recognize the need and importance of the SciBridge mission. At NC State, SciBridge is an official student organization with over 20 members from a variety of engineering departments. In Uganda, the first SciBridge student club is taking shape at Gulu University. Our Africa organizer, John Paul Eneku, held the 1st Coordinators' Workshop at Makerere University in Uganda in July, with support from the NC State East Africa Strategic Initiative Grant. For the first time, this workshop brought together all of the Uganda SciBridge coordinators to plan SciBridge activities including integrating experiment kits into curricula and developing students clubs, such as the one at Gulu. The report of this workshop will be posted soon.
Most recently, SciBridge members participated in the 9th African Materials Research Conference in Gaborone, Botswana. Volunteers from NC State along with our Africa coordinator, John Paul Eneku, gave presentations on SciBridge at the Materials Education symposium (which I organized). We had tremendous support for our efforts and a future blog post will be dedicated to this experience.
In 2018, SciBridge will be sending out new experiment kits on thermoelectrics, developing new biofuel cell kits, working to develop the Africa SciBridge students clubs, and developing better methods of assessing our impact. We are extremely grateful to our volunteers and supporters as well as sponsors - the U.S. National Science Foundation and NC State University.
SciBridge began as a simple idea for a collaboration between myself and John Paul Eneku in 2013. We are now entering our 5th year with dozens of student members, 9 partner universities, and secure funding for experiment kit development for the next several years. The project continuously reminds me of the power of grassroots efforts to make a difference.
As 2017 winds down, I would like to wish all of you happy holidays and all the best in 2018!
Assistant Professor, NC State University
SciBridge Chair & U.S. Organizer
After a year of developing, the TEG Experimental Kits are now ready and are being shipped to our partner African Universities. We thank all the volunteers who helped develop the kits as well as assisted in packaging them. We are very excited for what is to come!
Since 2015, NC State Student Involvement has hosted an awards ceremony (The L.E.A.D. Awards) honoring outstanding Student Organizations and Student Involvement on campus. This year, Scibridge was nominated for the Outstanding New Student Organization Award. Scibridge volunteer Alex Hsain said of the event that she was "inspired by the leadership and dedications of student organizations on campus."
Though we did not win, we at Scibridge are honored by the nomination. We would like to thank NC State University, our partner African Universities, all of our financial sponsors, and our volunteers for all of their support. We will continue to press towards to mark in our goal of bridging the gap between United States and African Scientists.
Scibridge Volunteer, Alex Hsain, a junior majoring in Materials Science and Engineering and the current head of the TEG Committee for Scibridge, has been awarded the 2017 Truman Scholarship. The Truman Scholarship is a highly competitive, merit-based award funded by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation and offered to U.S. citizens and U.S. nationals from Pacific Islands who want to attend graduate school in preparation for a career in public service. Alex plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering or Electrical Engineering to assist in her goal of becoming a leader in sustainable energy development.
The Scibridge family congratulates Alex on all of her accomplishments and for all of her work for Scibridge.
Click here to read the full press release
Scibridge members meet with Dr. Nava Setter, a leader in research on functional ceramics, ferroelectrics, and piezoelectrics, to talk about Scibridge and its future goals. Dr. Setter is also well known for her passion for enabling science learning in rural high schools in Tanzania. We look to take advantage of this experience and use Dr. Setter's expertise, knowledge, and advice to reach our goals as an organization.
Today, Scibridge had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Stan Meiburg of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As one of Scibridge's main goals is research in sustainable and renewable energy, Dr. Meiburg's presentation on the history and impact of the EPA was both timely, and inspiring. We also congratulate Dr. Meiburg as he accepts his new position as the Director of Graduate Sustainability at Wake Forest University.
Last year, Scibridge received an East Africa Strategic Grant from the Office of International Affairs. This year, Scibridge receives a spotlight in the GlobalEyes Newsletter. The article describes how the responses from the African student participants have been "overwhelming" which exemplifies the "necessity and impact" of the program. Below is a quote from Dr. Veronica Augustyn about the organization.
"The SciBridge project is important because it is bridging not only the scientific knowledge gap, by developing hands-on experiment kits for undergraduate and high school students in East Africa, but also because it is teaching students how to participate on diverse and global teams to solve critical global challenges."
- Dr. Veronica Augustyn, Scibridge Chair and U.S. Organizer
Click here to read the full article
On August 15, 2017 Scibridge became an official club at NC State University. As a result, Scibridge was granted the opportunity to apply for appropriations funding that is allocated to new student organizations. Today, Scibridge received the maximum amount of funding, $230, and will use the funds to further increase the membership of the organization. We thank the NC State Student Government for this funding opportunity.
New Year! New Collaborations! Scibridge hopes to collaborate with Shaw University Students more in 2017.
December of last year, NC State students of Scibridge collaborated with the Shaw University students in an opportunity to perform a trial run on the experiment kits and gain feedback from students with diverse technical backgrounds in order to create a better lesson plan, and open the dialog for future collaborations. Scibridge is currently working on building an experimental kit based in thermoelectrics. Thermoelectric devices generate a voltage due to a temperature differential on opposite sides of the material. This goes hand-in-hands with Scibridge’s goal of making experimental kits based in Materials science, energy, and sustainability. This kit will make use of a Thermoelectric Peltier Plate.
The Shaw University students proved to be an excellent test case for the draft lesson plan and provided great insight. Alex Hsain, Scibridge experiments coordinator, expressed that the “Shaw University students were excited to learn and dive into experiments.” Alex also expressed how the “valuable feedback” the Shaw University students provided on “areas of the lesson plan that needed clarification [and] questions that needed adjustment,” would prove instrumental in improving on the TEG (thermoelectric generator) kit as well as future kits. Areas such as the length of the lesson plans as well as the clarity of the instructions will need to be reevaluated before sending the finished product across the globe.
Scibridge hopes to pair up with interested Shaw University students in the future. When asked about the potential collaboration, Scibridge member Chris Boggs expressed great excitement. “Yes! Even if it is just for building a better lesson plan,” exclaimed Chris, “They could even be involved in webinars about the materials they have been learning!”
The experimental kit and lesson plan is not complete yet, but Scibridge plans to ship the kits to some of our partner East African Universities in June 2017. As we continue to walk through the year, future collaborations with Shaw University students will be instrumental in the finished product of the TEG kit and future kits to come.