OSU Launches Humanitarian Engineering Program

Mar 24, 2016

Oregon State University's College of Engineering has launched a humanitarian engineering program. The minor is one of only a few in the nation.

Grace Burleson, an engineering student at OSU, works on an internship in Uganda.
Credit Matt Rogers

The program was created, in part, because a growing number of students want to make a difference. Professor of Engineering Kendra Sharp:

SHARP: "It gives them an opportunity to explore how they can have an impact in their communities, whether that's a local community or working in an international scale."

OSU undergrads can now minor in humanitarian engineering, taking classes like Engineering Design in Emergency and Low Resource Environments – here, they would focus on a project like building a water system in a refugee camp.

Sharp says the program tends to attract more women and minorities and it's interdisciplinary.

SHARP: "More than just the technical requirements of a design process and to aim to develop tools or technologies that can improve the lives of people living in poverty."

OSU is also one of 10 universities in the U.S. to offer a Peace Corps Masters International program in engineering. This allows grad students to get a masters degree while doing their Peace Corps service.