MACON – This summer, Mercer University School of Engineering, in partnership with the Office of International Programs, launched a unique 10-week research experience for nearly 100 Brazilian students representing the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program (BSMP) in addition to local undergraduate students.
The BSMP is a one-year, non-degree program offered by the Brazilian government to allow the country's students to study abroad in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields at the world's best colleges and universities.
The English Language Institute in Mercer's Office of International Programs has worked with the BSMP to provide intensive English courses for these students on the University's Atlanta campus prior to two semesters of undergraduate study on the Macon campus.
The Mercer University Summer Engineering Experience (MeSEE) was developed in response to BSMP students in U.S. engineering schools and Mercer students and professors desiring a way to extend their research into the summer term.
"The MeSEE program is driven by teams of students who collaborate with a faculty member to design and develop solutions to an engineering problem," said Dr. Wade H. Shaw, Kaolin Professor and dean of the School of Engineering.
"Students receive normal academic credit as they use our labs and tools to craft innovative approaches to design problems and work closely with faculty members to master technology, teamwork and purposeful research."
In addition to Mercer undergraduates, this summer's inaugural MeSEE was open to all BSMP students nationwide.
"Our initial enrollment estimates were blown away by the outpouring of interest by BSMP students studying at higher education institutions across the U.S.," said Nicole H. Baker, international student adviser and scholar services coordinator.
"Mercer's BSMP students helped raise the profile of the University on a global level by reaching out to their peers from across the nation of Brazil who had been placed through the U.S. for their English language learning and undergraduate study."
Brazilian students representing 21 universities in 18 different states participated in around a dozen MeSEE projects in environmental, electrical, industrial, mechanical, computer and biomedical engineering.
These projects included studying oxygen transfer in the activated sludge process; forecasting, sequencing and scheduling university course offerings; mathematical and statistical models for analyzing manufacturing and industrial systems; design, simulation and testing of a flyback DC/DC converter; erosion measurement and prediction for various metals; mobile app development for public health; evaluation of intermittent sand filter design parameters for treatment of residential gray water; affordable powered hand prosthesis design and development; design and analysis of a one-kilowatt hydraulic turbine; simulating human workload using Arena; and measurement of the thermal conductivity of natural and formed composite materials.
Faculty mentors included Dr. Richard Mines, Dr. Scott Schultz, Dr. Pablo Biswas, Dr. Ramachandran Radharamanan, Dr. Ruiyun Fu, Dr. Stephen Hill, Dr. Donald Ekong, Dr. Phillip McCreanor, Dr. Sinjae Hyun, Dr. Edward O'Brien, Dr. Loren Sumner, Dr. Laura Moody, Dr. Joan Burtner and Dr. Bill Moses.
"The mission of the Office of International Programs is to serve the university community in facilitating opportunities for faculty, staff, students and the Mercer community to exchange ideas across cultural and political borders in order to broaden the educational experience of all involved," said Julie Strecker, director of international programs and the English Language Institute.
"By serving the School of Engineering and this cohort of BSMP students, we have aided in the development of this opportunity to extend Mercer's mission in all its facets to these visiting students who will no doubt be empowered to take the lessons they learn and the discoveries they make home to Brazil to inspire and serve their own communities and continue the circle begun here at Mercer of lifelong learning and service."
"Due to the success of the Mercer University Summer Engineering Experience in this inaugural year, we plan to offer it again next summer," added Dr. Schultz, who serves as associate dean of the School of Engineering and associate professor of industrial engineering.
About the School of Engineering
Mercer University's School of Engineering, founded in 1985, offers innovative and academically challenging programs that provide students with a comprehensive education, featuring a solid foundation in mathematics and sciences, a core engineering curriculum, a range of courses in engineering specialties and a strong emphasis on communication technologies. The School is consistently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top three master's-degree-level engineering schools in the Southeast. Known for its breadth of instruction in its undergraduate program and its five-year joint bachelor's and master's degree program, the School combines technical education with hands-on laboratory experience. Mercer engineers can look forward to joining fellow alumni in companies such as Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, Lockheed Martin, Georgia Power, Siemens and Gulfstream Aerospace.