India summer program gets off to good start
In an era of increasing globalization, maintaining international ties is as important to universities as it is to businesses. Students from one of the biggest players on the world stage, India, spent three weeks on the University of Missouri campus for the College of Engineering’s India Summer Program.
The program kicked off its inaugural year July 3 and wrapped July 25. Sanjeev Khanna, the program’s faculty advisor, said the creation of the program was two years in the making.
MU already offered a two-plus-two undergraduate program with the S.R. International Institute of Technology in Hyderabad, India. Khanna, the C.W. LaPierre Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, said he visited the United Institute of Technology (UIT) in Allahabad, India and after a reciprocal visit, they agreed on an education and research collaboration.
The India Summer Program is an attempt to strengthen ties with students and relationships with institutions in India. With the economy becoming more global by the year, building relationships with other industrialized nations is more of a necessity, and programs such as this one expose participants to how things are done in other corners of the globe.
“As we know more about each other, we can integrate better in the future economy and in the world,” Khanna said.
The participants also were exposed to facets of Midwestern life and culture, with tours of the Capitol in Jefferson City, Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Perche Creek and Hannibal, among other events.
“I’ve found that here in the U.S. and at MU, in fact, I would say the practical approach is stronger than we had. I believe from the student’s perspective, that’s quite helpful when it comes to engineering,” said Alok Tiwari, a recent graduate of UIT.
“We usually are more emphasized on seeing things and learning it. We are not so used to doing things over there. Once we get into industry, we get an opportunity to work on things. But here in the U.S. … we get an opportunity to work on them (now).”
The 13 participants and one faculty member undertook two projects. The first was the construction of a tricopter drone and a drone aircraft with a global positioning system and mounted camera. The second was the construction of a hybrid wind-solar energy system, which was tested on the quad near the program’s end. The two energy sources combined to charge a battery, which then passed energy through an inverter to power a small fan and two light bulbs. This hybrid system had a peak power capacity of 1100 Watts, of which approximately 500 came via the solar panels and 600 more from the windmill, and the project was set up in such a way as to be replicable on a larger scale.
The participants showed off their work to MU Vice Provost for International Programs Handy Williamson on Francis Quadrangle during the program’s last week.
“It’s great. I’ve learned many things here,” Vivek Srivastava, UIT’s faculty advisor for the trip, said of his time at MU.
Khanna said that he’s pleased with the way the program went in its first year, particularly when it came to exposing participants to both MU and the engineering education system in the U.S. as a whole. He also was pleased with the gains made by the program toward increasing ties with what he called one of three countries contributing most to global growth and the global economy.
“We really liked that students from India and our US students here got a chance to interact with each other and learn from each other about their culture, their values, their way of doing things, and how they even approach the same engineering subject, the same type of project,” Khanna said.
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