Projects that Help Others

Students and faculty alike have a wealth of opportunities to translate invention and innovation into practical solutions that make a difference in people’s lives. From working on an internationally minded project to driving an issue of global significance, these projects have real-world applications that directly benefit people around the world.

In an Engineering For Humanity class, students worked with senior citizen clients to identify and design projects that would directly help them. Over the semester, they learned about their clients’ needs, identified specific challenges that they faced and developed concrete solutions to address these challenges. One project resulted in a team building a device to help elderly people get out of a car more easily.

Through the Grand Challenge Scholars Program, students contribute to a substantial team or independent project relating to the engineering challenges put forth by the National Academy of Engineering—problems whose solutions could dramatically improve people’s quality of life. Past projects include a stand-alone photovoltaic system to power a greenhouse, an automated tuberculosis tester for the developing world, and enabling a hydrogen economy with photosynthetic bacteria.

Olin was selected by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a founding member of the Higher Education Solutions Network— a groundbreaking partnership among seven top American and foreign universities designed to develop innovative solutions to global development challenges. Under the program, Olin faculty and students will work with USAID field mission experts and Washington staff to apply science and technology to define and solve key problems in areas such as global health, food security and chronic conflict.