A global engineer education: What you need to know

By Amy Lieberman 15 September 2015

Morgan Bailey, president of UC Irvine's chapter for Engineers Without Borders and grad student researcher, talks with local residents of a Kenyan community to asses their living and health conditions. How are universities integrating a global dimension into engineering education? Photo by: UCI UC Irvine / CC BY-NC-ND

Traditional engineering courses are becoming increasingly varied as universities and major firms alike recognize the need to cater to the needs of a quickly globalizing world.

“The field of engineering is changing. It’s no longer focused on the local type of engineering — it’s more global talk, global engineering, and the key is, how do we create global engineers?” said Bernard Amadei, the founder of Engineers Without Borders and former director of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities at Colorado University Boulder. “You ask engineering students today why they are interested in the degree and they say they want a meaningful education and careers.”

The Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities, founded in the early 2000s, is one of the engineering programs that has popped up within the past 10 years to prepare engineering students to work in developing countries. The work requires students to dramatically broaden their skill set and frame of mind.

Cathy Leslie, executive director of Engineers Without Borders, told Devex the need for global engineers is natural.

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About the author

Amy Liebermanamylieberman

Amy Lieberman is an award-winning journalist based in New York City. Her coverage on politics, social justice issues, development and climate change has appeared in a variety of international news outlets, including The Guardian, Slate and The Atlantic. She has reported from the U.N. Headquarters, in addition to nine countries outside of the U.S. Amy received her master of arts degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in May 2014. Last year she completed a yearlong fellowship on the oil industry and climate change and co-published her findings with a team in the Los Angeles Times.

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