From Penn to Asia, Africa, and Central America, BE Students Go Global
Global Biomedical Service Program
The Global Biomedical Service program (GBS) seeks to provide students with the opportunity to have hands-on technical and cultural experience abroad. The program consists of a 9-week preparatory course and a 16-day trip to Huiyang, China, where students make orthotics for children with neuromusculoskeletal disorders. Cooperating with Hong Kong Polytechnic University, GBS gives students the chance to apply technical skills to make a real difference in patients' lives. The team, which usually includes SEAS bioengineering faculty and staff, partners with Hong Kong students in the class and clinic.
The experience inspires many participants, and in the case of some students, can spawn new ideas to improve patient care. For Chrysta Irolla (see right), GBS was the beginning of a research and entrepreneurial career in prosthetic devices for amputees that was supported by Penn's Weiss Tech House and start-up research venture opportunities.
Engineers Without Borders
Penn Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is a nonprofit humanitarian organization that partners with communities around the world to improve their quality of life through sustainable projects. Students work to enable sustainable development through local awareness and global implementation. PennEWB's foreign involvement is a mutually beneficial process. Partner communities are provided with needed assistance to improve quality of life and plan for their future. Students are exposed to new cultures, obtain experience planning and implementing an engineering project, and are made aware of outstanding engineering challenges in developing communities.
Penn EWB projects around the world have included: spring water distribution in the villages of Gundom and Kob, Cameroon; arsenic remediation in Bengal; water and sanitation systems in Terreritos, Honduras; and closer to home, a biodiesel processor at Saul Agricultural High School, which includes partnering with a Philadelphia restaurant for waste vegetable oil (WVO).