Page 33 - Engineering Penn State Magazine: Spring/Summer 2019
P. 33

 “I was able to put things in a visual marketplace and I learned a lot about applying a blueprint to real life. Good ideas are not limited to technical expertise,” he explained. “Sometimes engineers put all their ideas in a box, and that’s tunnel vision. So, you’re able to be pushed out of that box, and out of
the limitations we [engineers] create, ultimately limiting our creativity.”
Staicu explained why she thinks HESE is more popular among women engineering students.
“They are eager to be in this program because they get
to develop technology to impact communities that are disenfranchised. The social role is very important to them,” she said. “They are interested in acquiring skills that are related to business, an area where they may have less of a background. It’s about an interest in making the transition from the traditional role of engineer to a modern role where they have business skills to develop a technology-business model with care for the people and the environment at the same time.”
As a technology development program predominately composed of female students, HESE differs greatly from the traditionally male-dominated field of engineering, generating curiosity about what makes HESE more attractive to women.
“Research shows that it is the impact of the program. I think that students, and particularly millennials, are becoming more empathetic. Empathy is the foundation of our program and what we are seeing in the HESE classes,” said John Gershenson, director of HESE and research professor.
Because a specific goal of HESE is to create innovative change within developing communities, students are placed in teams where they actively work to frame and solve issues in these communities. Students explained that it is HESE’s team structure and community engagement that contributes to its appeal and success.
“Through interacting and forming relationships with local communities we are able to learn about the market supply chain to see the problems farmers and wholesalers encounter daily,” Lakshmi Hirpara, an energy business and finance student, said. “Having a relationship with our local contact, Caroline, has helped us surge forward immensely by allowing us to immerse in the culture of the market and gain insights about these problems people are facing every day.”
Without the team structure, Bailey described how she would not have been able to reach her goals as easily, notably being named the first runner-up of the Joelle Award for Women in Engineering Leadership. This award aims to highlight female students who are brandishing a path of leadership and service and who provide a positive environment for women within the College of Engineering.
“I think I wouldn’t have even been close to achieving it [Joelle Award runner-up] without my HESE experience. I think with HESE it’s so important to encourage women, and the best way HESE does that is working in groups. We don’t exclude,” she said.
 Daniela Staicu with the Produce Solutions team at their final presentations before the Maymester research trip to Kenya. From left, Yash Makhecha, Greg Schweiker, Megan Ellery, Daniela Staicu, Lakshmi Hirpara, Ebenezer Akande, and Krina Patel.

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