changing habitual behaviors. A successful project requires integrating skills and knowledge from several academic fields to implement and monitor a sustainable system that can be scaled to meet community needs. In Kenya, for example, local companies prepare and bottle a very low-cost chlorine solution distributed by an international NGO marketed by radio, TV, and street theater. Midwives who use the solution recommend it to new mothers.

“We asked a woman in a rural home to give us a glass of water the way she would prepare it for a child and we test that.”

Daniele Lantagne, CDC


The discussion that followed was focused on identifying the components of an engineering curriculum or activities that would encourage students to develop a better understanding of ethical dimensions and subtleties. As the two women had said, Ms. Lantagne’s undergraduate schooling had included and encouraged both engineering content and courses outside engineering that had contributed to her approach to solving complex, poorly defined problems. Dr. Green’s schooling had not included those “outside” influences. Nevertheless, Dr. Green believes that considerations of sustainability are more encouraged today than they were when she was a student.

Environmental engineer Jonathan Essoka, Environmental Protection Agency, Philadelphia, commented that attracting students from diverse backgrounds to engineering could create a climate for more diversity in engineering education. Ms. Lantagne agreed and pointed out that the National Academy of Engineering website, EngineerGirl!, which emphasizes that the purpose of engineering is to enable young girls to become what they want to be—“whether that’s environmental justice in the States or in developing countries or building a cool spaceship, we need to do all of it,” sends a strong message about the potential social and humanitarian benefits of engineering. Dr. Agogino added that funding agencies should take the societal effects of proposed engineering research projects into consideration in their funding decisions.

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