Stay current on HESE News! Read some of the recent stories we have been featured in!



In Touch With: Khanjan Mehta

Penn State News

Khanjan Mehta, assistant professor of engineering design and director of the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) Program at Penn State, helps students solve problems in developing nations in ways that benefit local economies and are self-sustaining. HESE ventures range from telemedicine systems and ruggedized biomedical devices to affordable greenhouses and solar food dryers.


Not your grandfather’s house, but maybe it should be

“People want to build a good house, everyone wants to have a good house,” said Khanjan Mehta, director, Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship Program and assistant professor of engineering design. “But what makes a good house? Is it wood, steel, concrete or bamboo? “It all depends on the context. In some places steel and concrete are perfect, while straw bales and bamboo are optimal in other places. We should be evaluating what is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable at the necessary scale in a given location,” he said.

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World Hope International Named Award Nominee in Securing Water for Food Grand Challenge for Development


WHI’s Greenhouses Revolutionizing Output Project, a partnership with the Pennsylvania State University Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship Program, improves water sustainability to ultimately boost food security and help alleviate poverty.


Students to solve global engineering challenges as Grand Challenge Scholars

Penn State News

Chemical engineering student Nicole Bernstein and bioengineering student Nick Frazzette are leaders in a new program that will allow students to take the skills they learn in the classroom at Penn State and solve real-world engineering challenges across the globe.


As Sierra Leone emerges from Ebola crisis, new innovations are helping poor villages

National Desert News

One answer may lie in an innovative program created by Pennsylvania State University’s Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (PSU-HESE) program and World Hope International to bring greenhouses to rural farming cooperatives in Sierra Leone, giving communities better food security and opportunities for nutrition.


HESE Students Building A Better Greenhouse To Grow A Better World

Onward State

There’s only so much you can get done from inside a classroom.

Penn State professor Khanjan Mehta knows this, and so do his students in the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) program. That’s why they’re taking their skills out of the classroom and all the way to the African country of Zambia.


Ten Technologies for Farming in Dry Climates

Engineering For Change

Greenhouses are essential to productive farming in dry climates, and this one is created for low-income farmers in developing countries. The Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship program at Pennsylvania State University tests and distributes these Affordable Greenhouses in Kenya and Tanzania and the team is branching into drier African climates.


Improving Farms in the World’s Drylands, Part 1: Ancient Methods and Lowest-Cost Technology

Engineering For Change

“It comes back to water and access to water,” says Khanjan Mehta, Director of the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) Program at Pennsylvania State University and an E4C Contributing Editor. Mehta and his team have worked with dryland farmers and researched greenhouse farming in Mozambique.


Improving Farms in the World’s Drylands, Part 2: New Tools and Challenges

Engineering For Change

But in spite of the skepticism for sensors, Mehta’s team is developing a different digital tool for farmers: a knowledge database. The database is compiling local agricultural knowledge among farmers in Sierra Leone, information like plant types, farming techniques, seasonal patterns and so on. But rather than throwing it all in the cloud and hoping that farmers with phones can find it, the team is controlling the informational chaos, sending the database to Amazon Fire tablets for roving experts to reference while they talk with farmers.


Engineers tap materials expertise to tackle global problems

Penn State News

Khanjan Mehta is a man with a mission — solving the problems that make it so difficult to provide energy, clean drinking water, food security, and health care to some of the poorest nations on Earth. As the founding director of HESE — Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship — in the College of Engineering, Mehta leads a group of engaged undergraduates who are designing new technologies and, equally important, figuring out how to get those technologies into the hands of the people who need them.


‘Reinventing’ sustainability: A collaborative passion

Penn State News

These are the creations of Penn State students with a passion for addressing sustainability issues — locally, regionally and across the globe — with assistance from the Reinvention Fund, an internal grant program to support collaborative projects by faculty, staff and students that improve and expand sustainability efforts at Penn State.


Gro Greenhouse Initiative project gives students hands-on experience

Daily Collegian

Through the Humanitarian and Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship, this project is considered “engaged scholarship” work that allows students to get involved in real world, community projects at the international, national or local level. The students in the Gro Greenhouse Initiative are working on international projects as far as in southern Africa.


Mehta edits book on STEM careers in social innovation, sustainable development

Penn State News

Many in science, technology and innovation want to channel their passion and education to improve the human condition, especially for the most vulnerable. They also want to earn enough to do it full time and be financially stable. How can they do both?



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