SciBridge Project

SciBridge aims to pave scientific pathways between U.S. and east African scientists around the critical need for sustainable, global, energy development. 

Promoting SciBridge at the annual Campus Connections in Talley Student Union.

Promoting SciBridge at the annual Campus Connections in Talley Student Union.

Collaborating with Shaw University students on the thermoelectrics project.

Collaborating with Shaw University students on the thermoelectrics project.

The SciBridge Project is a student-led organization with the goal of partnering with universes in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda to develop research partnerships driven by sustainability-themed materials science. Our chapter at NC State builds instructional materials, videos, and written lesson plans that teach advanced materials science concepts to second- and third-year undergraduate students. These experiment kits serve as a launchpad for students to conduct future research projects; such as two students who completed their Master’s Thesis using the equipment from our solar cell kit. Our experiment kits have included dye-sensitized solar cells, Al-air batteries, and most recently, thermoelectric coolers.

A schematic representing the SciBridge process.

A schematic representing the SciBridge process.

I joined SciBridge in summer 2016 and was one of the original co-founders of the NC State student chapter. That summer, we wrote a constitution and developed strategy of how our student chapter would operate. In the Fall I served as the experiment chair for the Thermoelectrics group and led a team of seven undergraduates and graduate students to develop a complete experiment and 24-page lesson plan with corresponding laboratory instructions. Students participating in the workshop would become knowledgeable in the Peltier and Seebeck effects and become familiar with basic circuitry and device optimization. My group also filmed a step-by-step instructional video to guide students through the experiment and provide students with troubleshooting tips as they went through the lesson plan.

Thermoelectrics Instructional Video

In 2017 I was elected President and started a monthly lecture series. During every general body meeting, I welcomed a guest speaker who was involved in sustainability-related projects in Africa. Speakers in Spring 2017 included a representative from PeaceCorp, professor from the Environmental Engineering Department, and a representative from Global Engagement. The idea of this series was to provide SciBridge participants with network-building opportunities and find out how they could further their impact in global sustainability. As president I also trained committee heads, managed institutional collaboration, and represented SciBridge at annual meetings and official events.

From left: Alexandria Cruz, Alex Hsain, and John Wang. Posing in front of the three chiefs statue in downtown Gaborone, Botswana.

From left: Alexandria Cruz, Alex Hsain, and John Wang. Posing in front of the three chiefs statue in downtown Gaborone, Botswana.

One of these events was the African Materials Research Society (A-MRS) conference in Gaborone, Botswana. Myself and two other SciBridge students flew to Botswana to present at the Education Symposium on developing SciBridge into a student organization. This was also an excellent time for us to further strengthen our network with our African coordinator John Paul Eneku, and collaborate with African students about how to deepen our partnerships. You can learn about this experience more in an exclusive interview featured on the SciBridge website.

As a graduate student, I am now working on integrating SciBridge into the Materials Science & Engineering undergraduate curriculum. I hope to do this by creating a SciBridge senior design option which would allow students to design their own SciBridge project with the central theme being materials for sustainability.

If you are interested in joining or collaborating with SciBridge, please contact me or go to www.SciBridge.org.

 Highlights from African MRS 2017: Botswana & South Africa