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UE Students Headed to Mongolia for Business, Engineering Projects

Posted: Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Eight University of Evansville students will spend their last days of summer break halfway across the world, participating in business and engineering projects in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

From August 8-19, students in UE’s Schroeder Family School of Business Administration and College of Engineering and Computer Science will work with the nonprofit organization G.O. Ministries on several projects in Mongolia, from expanding local craft businesses to finding sustainable heat sources for buildings.

In Mongolia, students will conduct on-the-ground research and collect data to use in their senior capstone projects. Once completed in May 2013, their finished work — including building designs and business plans — will be delivered to G.O. Ministries and implemented by the organization.

Once the group arrives in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar (population 1.2 million), the UE business students will be tasked with helping two local craft businesses grow and increase their revenue. The businesses employ Mongolian men and women to produce silver jewelry and leather goods.

Civil engineering majors will examine two existing buildings and develop plans to refurbish them into a housing facility for G.O. Ministries volunteers and a factory/training center for the craft businesses.

Mechanical engineering students will research alternative, sustainable forms of heating the two buildings, currently heated by Soviet-era central steam heat.

Assistant professor of mechanical engineering John Layer and associate professor of management Pete Sherman will accompany the group. Layer facilitated the partnership between UE and G.O. Ministries after he traveled to Haiti and the Dominican Republic on a short-term mission trip. He saw opportunities for UE students to be involved in the design and planning phase of the organization’s projects, which include building schools, churches, and housing. He has since led two groups of engineering students to the Dominican Republic, where they designed a three-story building in 2008 and developed a solar water heater in 2010.

“In Mongolia, 36 percent of residents live in poverty, and one in five is unemployed,” said Layer. “When students experience and serve a vastly different culture, they often return home with an increased sense of social responsibility and a passion for using their skills and knowledge to help others. They see the impact they can have on the world, and they start the academic year with a new motivation.”

“This trip to Mongolia,” Layer added, “is truly the kind of life-transforming educational experience we’re proud to offer at UE.”

The University of Evansville wishes to thank the Institute for Global Enterprise in Indiana and the Kern Family Foundation for their generous support of this educational experience. 

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