Santa Clara University


Pilot Overseas Program For Engineers Begins in El Salvador

Six pioneering senior mechanical engineering students, Peter Adam, Anthony Fernandez, Daniel Jacinto, Michael Kledzik, John Rivera, and Matthew Wilcox volunteered and are spending five weeks in El Salvador as part of a pilot overseas program custom designed for engineers.

Using the newly acquired funding from the Technology Steering Committee, the School purchased the teleconferencing equipment customized for teaching distance learning courses that was previously on loan from Tandberg. The equipment will be used to teach four of the six classes live to the students.

Mechanical Engineering Professors Jorge Gonzalez-Cruz, Tim Hight, and Jeff Ota along with Religious Studies Professor Joe Morris will be offering their courses to the students live to the students while Professors Drazen Fabris (Mechanical Engineering) and Leonard Klosinski (Math) will be offering their classes through recorded content for one of the students.

During their five weeks there, three of the students will be working on their senior design project, deploying an autonomous underwater vehicle in the Lempa River for the hydroelectric power company, and the three others will be assessing communities and projects for future senior design teams. In a partnership with Casa de la Solidaridad in El Salvador( and with the extra work of Kevin and Trena Yonkers-Talz and Chris Wright, a Praxis (community-based learning) experience will also be included in their curriculum while the engineering students are in El Salvador.

The six were in El Salvador from September 14th through October 22nd. They will rejoin their fellow students in the classroom at SCU on Monday, October 24th.

In addition to SCU students taking the classes online, five students from the Universidad Centro Americana Jose Simeon Canas (UCA) in San Salvador will be taking Professor Gonzalez-Cruz's Heat Transfer class, and two professors at the UCA will be taking Professor Jeff Ota's Introduction to Mechatronics class to determine if they can offer it to their students in the future.

Making this project possible included the extra efforts from Todd Schmitzer and Eddie Butler from Information Technology at SCU; Enrique Fernandez and Rene Aguilera from Information Technology at the UCA; Professor Willian Marroquin, Professor Ismael Sanchez and Professor Carlos Rivas from the UCA.