University of South Carolina February 28, 2013 A publication for faculty, staff and friends of the university Aiken Beaufort USC Times Columbia Lancaster A winter break in the tropics may conjure up images of tanning on a white sand beach, but a group of six students and faculty members from the USC chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) had other priorities. They would instead spend time trudging up the steep hillsides surrounding southern Ecuador’s La Victoria, a town of 1,500 nestled in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Although it has its share of striking vistas, La Victoria is far from a popular tourist destination. The USC group traveled there to meet with local officials and members of a coffee-growing cooperative of 23 farmers. The main goal of the 10day trip was to help the growers identify a sustainable water source for their crops. “They have to get their water trucked in during the dry season, and that can be kind of expensive as you can imagine,” said Brendan Croom, a junior mechanical engineering student. “Projects like this are the whole reason this organization exists.” With the use of GPS devices, the students and volunteers from an engineering firm helped survey a 1.5 mile path through dense jungle to a mountain stream. They will use the data to design a gravity pipeline that will provide a yearround water supply to the coffee processing facility as well as a tree nursery housed at a local school. The EWB team plans to return to La Victoria to serve as project directors during the pipeline’s construction. The project was first identified nearly two years ago through the national EWB organization, a non-profit which matches student chapters with specific engineering projects in developing countries. An award from the Magellan Scholars program through USC’s Office of Research helped fund the trip. The group is not just for students who dream of becoming professional engineers. Andrea Eggleston, a sophomore biomedical engineering student, says she plans on attending dental school and opening a practice to serve the Hispanic community. “This trip was a perfect match for my interests,” she said. “I’m very motivated by public service, and this also gave me the opportunity to practice my Spanish.” As the team mingled with local residents and visited a health clinic and a school, the trip became about much more than engineering. “It was wonderful to make friends with these folks,” said Charles Feigley, a professor in the Arnold School of Public Health who served as the team’s health and safety officer. “One student would play soccer every night with the locals. Salkehatchie Sumter Union Upstate MISSION TO SERVE By Jeff Stensland “I’m very motivated by public service, and this also gave me the opportunity to practice my Spanish.” see ENGINEERS, page 2 FCC commissioner talks tech with USC students International Connection USC’s English Programs for Internationals hosted 14 teachers from Brazil for intensive English language and teacher training recently. The Brazilian English Teachers Program — sponsored by the Institute of International Education, CAPES, the Fulbright Commission and the U.S. Embassy in Brazil — involved many different units across campus. Alexandra Rowe, director of EPI, said she hopes the teachers, who have been immersed in Carolina history and culture, will encourage their students to come to USC. More teachers from the program will arrive on campus in June. “The way we communicate has changed. This nation has grown from landlines to wireless. Our challenge at the FCC is to ensure that people have access to the technology they need so that they can fully participate in society. You shouldn’t have to live in an urban hub to be able to get services. Our charge is to ensure that whether you live in a rural or urban area you will have the same opportunities.” FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, ’84 business, visited Don Fowler’s “Politics and the Mass Media” class to discuss the Universal Service fund and the importance of making telecommunications services available throughout the United States. This month Clyburn will be sworn in for her second term as an FCC commissioner. Get the free mobile app at http:/ / gettag.mobi Times is online Check out USC Times online, or on your phone or tablet. And be sure to follow us on Facebook for daily news and stories.