ALLIANCE, Ohio — One of the Four Pillars of Exceptional Engineering Education at the University of Mount Union is requiring an international, faculty-led engineering experience. As a result of the travel restrictions brought forth by COVID-19, the faculty at Mount Union found a way to provide a remote global experience to its students in its Global Engineering Speaker Series.
The virtual series, which features 11 speakers from across the world, is a replacement of the annual international trips the faculty in the School of Engineering have taken students on since the program’s inception. It began on April 3 and will run through May 1.
The global lineup features engineering professionals from six U.S. states as well as the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, England and Saudi Arabia. The goal of the series is to provide students with the opportunity to hear about engineering from those with firsthand knowledge from around the world.
The speakers in the series include:
- Majdi Ababneh — design engineer, Synaptics, Texas
- Daniel Allasia — professor, Federal University of Santa Maria, Brazil
- Khalid Tawfiq Al-Saqqar — mechanical engineering projects manager, Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi
- Joe Angeli '16 — engineer II, Kenda Tire, Ohio
- Mark Boyle — director of engineering and technology, Robert Bird Group, London
- Taylor Cline '16 — project engineer, CESO, Inc., Ohio
- Haitham Diab — supervisor sales engineering, Draeger Company, Saudi Arabia
- Shawn Gargac — director of research and development, Wright, Inc., Indiana
- Megan Klinect '16 — design release engineer (lead project engineer), Nexteer Automotive, Michigan
- Jerry McCann — senior advisor and peace engineering, Build Up, California
- Savanna Michener — graduate student in peace engineering, Drexel University, Pennsylvania
“[The series] demonstrates the University of Mount Union is capable of navigating a crisis, something that should not be undersold with engineering students and parents,” said McCann. “This is peace engineering at its finest in navigating and adapting to the contextual challenges, including, in this case the pandemic.”
The course is taught by Dr. Hans Tritico, associate professor of civil engineering, and Dr. Okechukwu Ugweje, professor of electrical engineering.
Tritico stated that students were working on designing and building scientific research stations in collaboration with the Juara Foundation in the Brazilian Pantanal. While they will most likely not get to see those projects in use firsthand, students were still grateful for the global experience of the speaker series.
“The professors in the engineering program transitioned to online pretty seamlessly, making sure that the expectations were clear and that a little as possible changed,” said Julia Chen ’20 a civil engineering major of Alliance, Ohio. “The engineers in the series have lived it - they either travel often to other countries or they live and work in another country. The recommendations that they have given to us as juniors and seniors can directly help us in our job searches and planning for the future.”
“We have had two alumni speak to our class so far and it has been very interesting to hear what they learned, both in the classroom and on their trip to Belize, and how their experiences are being used in their current jobs,” said Nate Pimpas ’20 a mechanical engineering major of North Canton, Ohio.
"I think not only the engineering program but Mount Union as a whole instilled in me to have a fulfilling life, do meaningful work, and be a responsible citizen for this world," said Cline. "Through that, I believe is what really sparked my motive to want to use my engineering knowledge and talents to travel abroad and do engineering work globally."
“When we heard the Global Engineering course was not going to get to travel this year, we were obviously devastated,” said Tritico. “Yet, because of the generosity of engineers across four continents to speak in the series, Mount Union’s engineering program continues to be world-class.”