Washington University International Experience Program Trip 2019/2020

The International Experience Program coordinated by the Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering (EECE) Department at Washington University is part of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy Global Energy & Environment Partnership (MAGEEP) Program. The International Experience Program is an elective course offered to undergraduate students studying engineering and environmental science. Each year a group of students visit on of our MAGEEP partner universities during the summer session.

The 12th International Experience class trip was different this time around. Instead of travelling during our summer break, we traveled during the 2019/20 winter break. Nine Washington University students traveled to India and visited the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. Ray Ehrhard and Professor Rajan Chakrabarty of the EECE Department coordinated and attended the trip with the students. The department of Chemical Engineering at IIT Delhi is known to be the finest in the country and one of the best around the world. We are fortunate to have many close colleagues and alumni from Washington University with connections to IIT Delhi.

The goal of the MAGEEP Summer Experience program is to gain an understanding in global issues engineers will be facing while engaging the students in engineering studies and research conducted at a MAGEEP partner university. The students attended lectures on a variety of Chemical and Environmental Engineering-related topics including; air pollution and mitigation, mitigation of plastic waste, artificial intelligence, new frontiers for electric vehicles, battery management, and more. We were able to tour research labs and hear from IIT graduate students on the many projects they continue to study. A special tour was set up to visit the Nano Research Facility (NRF) to see the latest equipment being used in Nano research. One of our goals was to see first-hand the effects of localized air pollution and how researchers and government agencies are responding. Washington University has a joint research study deploying modular particulate monitors in the Delhi region as a real-time air pollution monitoring network. We were able to visit the main field site and see a demonstration of the technology while reviewing real time data. Following that site visit we meet at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) Center to see all the additional air monitoring efforts being undertaken to collect data and understand the causes and effects of these air pollution problems.

We were able to talk with several Washington University alumni at the university and research facilities which provided an introspective perspective to the students on how they can apply their engineering studies in their future careers.

While the primary purpose of this trip was to learn about engineering in India, students had ample time to experience the culture of India and visit the beautiful historic sites. We took a trip to visit sites in Agra including the Taj Mahal and Red Fort. We learned about Indian food and the many methods of getting around in the city, including bicycle rickshaws in Old Delhi. Some of the many sites we toured included; Humayun Tomb, India Gate, Qutub Minar, Gandhi Smriti, Raj Ghat, and of course the street markets. We were fortunate to have several IIT students and faculty accompany us during our time together.

This trip allowed students to see and experience the beauty, history, and future of India. Many international friendships were made and greater appreciations of global issues were realized by the students as they continue their education.