What This Nation Needs, According To The National Science Foundation……

BlogEWBHondoDSC02773_2.jpg…..is “an educated science and engineering workforce capable of operating in the international research environment and a global market” if the U.S. it to remain at the forefront of world science and technology.
What does that mean? That means that our graduates must know more about other countries, languages and cultures than they catch on YouTube or the idiot box (oops! We mean Cable TV).
How do we get such a workforce? For starters, Missouri S&T has established an inter-disciplinary Global Studies minor that requires twelve hours of coursework and an international experience. You might think an overseas experience is hard to come by, but S&T students already travel the four corners of the world on internships, co-ops, and various service projects.
S&T’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is the campus’ biggest overseas program. EWB works with local governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to identify pressing infrastructure problems that impact residents’ health and safety in Central and South America. An earthquake-resistant schoolhouse in Guatemala, village sanitation systems in the remote Andes mountains, a new water well for a school in the Amazon jungle, or simple in-home water filtration system to cut down on diseases.
EWB students gladly give up part of their summer break (or Thanksgiving, Winter, and Spring Breaks for that matter), and work all year to raise money and prepare for the trips. They even partner with St Louis schools to collect soap and and toothbrushes for these remote communities.
Beishlaglast.jpgThe coursework? A South American geography course shouldn’t simply be a glorified terrain walk where you learn the names of rivers and mountains. Geography determines climate, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, wildlife, clothing, textiles, food, public health, transportation, in short the entire economy of a region. At least that’s the way Dr. George Beishlag (left) at good ol’ Towson University taught it 40 years ago, and those were some of the most rewarding and memorable college courses this writer ever had.