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Engineering Students to the Rescue

haiti aidEarthquake-shattered Haiti is a world apart from America’s grassy college campuses. Yet for a growing number of U.S. engineering undergraduates, the country serves as a living classroom where they can apply their knowledge and skills to help real people – half a million of whom still live under tarps or tents – recover from the worst natural disaster in modern times.

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Website and Exhibit: The Other 90%

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The Cooper Hewitt Museum’s online exhibit, “Design for the Other 90%,” highlights the efforts of engineers and others from all over the globe to devise cost-effective ways to increase access to food and water, energy, education, healthcare, revenue-generating activities, and affordable transportation for those who most need them. The Website serves as an excellent resource for teachers and students, and links to several related lesson plans and a teacher forum. A free traveling exhibit is visiting Washington, D.C. through September 6, 2010 at the National Geographic.

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Feature: Amy Smith, The Barefoot Engineer

Amy Smith teaches mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is the driving force behind the Development Design Summit, which in 2009 hosted hosted more than 70 innovators, from Zambian health care workers to Caltech engineering students, for five weeks in Ghana. Her work encompasses 100 scattered projects in the pursuit of a single goal: using simple technology to lessen the burden of the rural poor. “I believe that there is a need for us to focus on solving the world’s most difficult problems,” she argues – problems that affect “the billions of people who don’t have safe water, sanitation, and enough food to eat.”

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Website: UNICEF’s Voices of Youth

disenfiUNICEF’s Voices of Youth Website provide a safe and supportive global cyberspace within which young people can explore, discuss and partner on issues related to human rights and social change, as well as develop their awareness, leadership, community building, and critical thinking skills through active and substantive participation with their peers and with decision makers globally.

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