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