We shall not cease from exploration,
And the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started –
and know the place for the first time.
Welcome! The above quote by T.S. Eliot helps put into perspective my evolving career interests in engineering. At the outset, my passion to make a tangible and sustainable difference in the lives of marginalized people, along with my interest in math and the sciences, led to me to pursue a career in engineering. That journey has taken me from working as a design engineer in industry, to being an engineering design faculty member, to creating opportunities for students to find the same excitement and gratification in using their skills to improve the lives of marginalized people around the world. My journey culminated in the founding of Humanitarian Engineering efforts here at Penn State (1997) along with the Engineers for a Sustainable World group (2002).
Through such efforts, I have been able to reflect upon my career choice and have come to ‘know the place for the first time’. That is, enabling students to assist others at the margins begins by better preparing the students to understand the cognitive aspects of their design thinking, including: problem solving, critical thinking, metacognition and ethical problem solving. Before students venture out to begin making that ‘positive difference in the world’, the life-long skill of ‘thinking’ might be enhanced.