Service through Design and Entrepreneurship Certificate Program

Rowan University

Pennsylvania State University’s Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW), a student-led organization, was created in 2001 with the goal of providing undergraduate students with design and research opportunities that directly impact the lives of people in developing communities through active collaboration with university partners and host nations. Faculty in the Department of Engineering Design at Penn State are now creating a Service through Design and Entrepreneurship certificate to be offered through the College of Engineering in conjunction with the Entrepreneurship Minor.

Students receive the certificate after successful completion of a three-course series: Entrepreneurship Business Basics, which teaches intellectual property, finance, and marketing; Entrepreneurship and New Product Development, which examines the concept of new product launch within a mainstream company as student teams design, prototype a new product family, and then present the product concept to venture seed fund representatives from companies like General Electric; and Engineering Cultures, Appropriate Technology and Product Design in Developing Communities, which discusses appropriate technology and initiate collaborative team development between Penn State students and host university students working on preliminary problem recognition and design study.

Each year, two to four interdisciplinary E-Teams of four to six members are formed to address an infrastructure or product design problem in a developing community, specifically focused on addressing the needs of individuals living on less than $2 a day. Faculty, practicing engineers, NGO representatives, and community development practitioners work with teams as mentors.