- Location and Housing
- Experiential Learning
- Faculty and Staff
- Additional Information
Empathic Global Leadership for Social Change: South Africa (ENGR 1276) is an experiential learning course designed to provide engineering minded students (may be from any major) with an introduction to designing solutions to problems that impact humanity. Students will see the social consequences of engineering decisions made by companies and other organizations in South Africa and discuss the rationale that led to those decisions during meetings with leaders, engineers, and other representatives from those parties. The course aims to provide students across a range of disciplines the opportunity to work together and develop strategies for tackling both broad, complex problems and specific, service focused challenges based on principles that are rooted in empathic engineering design. Students will contextualize what makes specific approaches for problem solving successful locally, regional, nationally, and internationally. The course will develop a student’s skills to work with one another to iterate through the ideation and design process of problem solving and to appreciate the social and cultural challenges that lie within.
Check out the videos below for more info about the program!
As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will:
- Have a basic understanding of the fundamental principles of empathic design to solve complex problems;
- Have participated in team-based observation, data collection, analysis, and ideation;
- Develop an appreciation of the engineering and social complexities associated with the need to ideate solutions to complex problems in cultures that are different than those in which they were raised;
- Gain experience in assessing the differences between meeting these challenges on local, regional, national, and international scales.
Our provider for this program is EDU Africa. We also partner with the University of Johannesburg and CPUT Capetown Pennisula University to connect Pitt students with students in South Africa. South Africa is located at the southern tip of Africa. It is bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho (which is completely surrounded by South Africa). It is a vast country with widely varying landscapes, 11 official languages and an equally diverse population. South Africa has the strongest economy in Africa and is an influential player in African politics.
You can expect the following:
- Double or triple rooms with a shared bathroom
- Heat and Air conditioning (which may be limited during certain hours of the day)
- Sheets, blankets, towels, and washcloths
- Breakfast included each day
This is an experiential learning course designed to provide engineering minded students (may be from any major) with an introduction to designing solutions to complex problems that impact humanity. Students will see the social consequences of engineering decisions made by companies and other organizations in Africa and discuss the rationale that led to those decisions during meetings with leaders, engineers, and other representatives from those parties.
The course aims to provide students across a range of disciplines the opportunity to interact and work together to ideate and develop strategies for tackling both broad, complex problems and specific, service, and social focused challenges based on principles that are rooted in empathic engineering design. Students will contextualize what makes specific approaches for problem solving successful locally, regional, nationally, and internationally. The course will develop the students’ skills to work remotely with one another to iterate through the ideation and design process of problem-solving and to appreciate the social and cultural challenges that lie within.
Read a draft of the summer 2023 syllabus here.
Engineering students can view how these courses will fulfill degree requirements here:
- Chemical Engineering: coming soon
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Industrial Engineering
- MEMS: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, and Engineering Science: coming soon
Other students: please check with your academic advisor for fulfillment of degree requirements.
This program provides opportunities to work on a consulting type project with an organization in South Africa.
Sylvanus N. Wosu, PhD
Sylvanus N. Wosu, PhD is the Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Pittsburgh. He earned his PhD in Engineering Physics from the University Oklahoma in 1988. Dr. Wosu is also the program director for NSF S-STEM GEPS Program and NSF PITT STRIVE program.Dr. Wosu’s research expertise is in Dynamic Penetration and Fracture Mechanics of New Generation of Composite Materials, including Bio-Composites and Biosensors. Dr. Wosu established a Dynamic Materials Behavior Lab equipped with a high speed imaging system capable of capturing dynamic events at 2 million frames per second, high-speed data acquisition system, Lab Ram System for characterization of solid, liquid and gases.
Steve Abramowitch, PhD
Steve Abramowitch, PhD. is an Associate Professor of Bioengineering, Musculoskeletal Research Center, and Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences. He earned his PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh. His research is aimed at elucidating the processes of injury, disease, and healing of connective tissues through an understanding of tissue mechanics and the complex relationships between composition, structure, and function. He is particularly interested in utilizing this information to establish new clinical treatment strategies and rehabilitation protocols to improve patient care in the fields of Orthopedics and Urogynecology. In 2008, Dr. Abramowitch became an NIH Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health Scholar (BIRCWH), which has allowed him to transition from his training in Orthopedics to Urogynecological research. Professor Abramowitch is one of only a few bioengineers in the country with this area as his primary research focus. His solid collaboration with Urogynecologist, Dr. Pamela Moalli, has led to a very productive relationship providing tremendous insight into the mechanisms of prolapse and the impact of polypropylene mesh following implantation for prolapse repair. In addition, this unique expertise has allowed him to be the only engineer who is part of clinical research (U01) being performed by the NICHD’s Pelvic Floor Disorders Network, whose members come from nine leading medical centers across the United States. These relationships have enabled him to maintain a significant translational focus within his work.
Sussan Yetunde Olaore
Sussan Yetunde Olaore is the PITT STRIVE Program Coordinator at the Swanson School of Engineering Office of Diversity. She currently manages the NSF grant that funds the PITT STRIVE program in the last three and half years. She earned her Bachelor Degree in Human Resource Management from Point Park University, Pittsburgh. She’s currently pursuing a Master’s degree program in Higher Education Management at the University of Pittsburgh. Her interests include working with graduate and undergraduate students and building bridges.
Alicia JF Olalde, M.A.
Hello! Konnichiwa! I am the Director for Global Experiences and Engagement in the Swanson School of Engineering. After working for the JET program in Japan for just over two years, I decided to pursue a career in international education. I returned to the US via a few months of travel -slowing making my way west with many stops in stunning locations and with amazing people. Whenever possible, I continue explore new countries and cultures and have had the good fortune to work, study and travel all over the world. I have been fortunate to work both as an administrator and as a classroom educator in higher education; my areas of interest are international, adult and comparative education. I enjoy assisting engineering students seize global opportunities!
Schedule an appointment
SSOE students: schedule an appointment with me using Pathways via this link!
non-SSOE students-- send me an email and we'll set up a time to meet!
Lauren Smith-Lemesh M.Ed.
Om Swastiastu Pitt! My name is Lauren, and I am one of the Global Programs Managers in the Swanson School of Engineering. I studied abroad in Indonesia during undergraduate, and worked as a peer study abroad advisor once I returned. After my study abroad trip, I knew that I wanted to support students to have life-changing experiences abroad too. Let's talk about your interests and find a program that will help you achieve your goals!
Schedule an appointment
Schedule an appointment with me using Pathways!
- Log in to Pathways or use the Navigate app.
- Select Appointments > Schedule an Appointment
- Select Pitt Global as the Care Unit.
- Select 152 Benedum as the Location
- Select ENGR Global as the service
- Select my name and find a time that works for you!
Having trouble or don't see a time that works for you? Just email me!
Items Billed by Pitt
|Program Fee (see the "What's included" section)||$5,450||$5,650|
|Study Abroad Fee||$300||$300|
|Total Billed by Pitt||$5,750||$5,950|
Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs
|If you are not a U.S. Citizen, you might need to apply for a visa||TBD|
As a part of the program costs, the following were included in the program:
- Tuition for 3 Pitt credits
- Housing in South Africa
- Airfare within South Africa
- Airport transfers (in-country) and all ground transportation
- Health insurance
- Some meals
- Admission and participation to all events and excursion
Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad. Visit our budgeting page for more information.
*Note that Pitt Global Experience Office courses/programs such as this one, operate outside of normal tuition and fee schedules and cannot be combined nor included in full-term tuition pricing.
For global scholarship opportunities, check out:
- the Pitt GEO scholarship page for links to national, provider and private scholarship samples
- PittFund$Me for Pitt sponsored funding including Pitt wide global scholarships, Nationality Rooms, VIH, etc.
- PittFund$Me for the SSOE Global Experience Scholarships!
- Good academic and behavioral standing, in your second year or higher level at the time of application
GEPS Scholars- If you are a GEPS Scholar, please contact the office of diversity in SSoE bout how your scholarship can be applied to this program.