International Experience in Taiwan 2018

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.

The summer 2018 trip was the 11th International Experience class. This year eight Washington University students traveled to Taiwan and visited National Taiwan University (NTU) and National Chiao Tung University (NCTU). Ray Ehrhard and Professor Vijay Ramani of the EECE Department coordinated and attended the trip with the students.

The goal of the MAGEEP Summer Experience program is to gain and understanding in global issues engineers will be facing and 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 water management, atmospheric aerosol research, biomendical research, nanoparticle research, renewable energy, environmental health concerns, and microfluids. We visited many research laboratories and manufacturing plants including; silicon wafer manufacturing, automobile special parts manufacturing, air pollution control equipment, air monitoring stations, and the Industrial Technology Research Institute of Taiwan. Several Washington University alumni were working at these industries and research facilities which provided an introspective perspective to the students on how they can apply their engineering studies in their future careers.

During our field trip to the silicon wafer plant, the students entered several different cleanroom areas and learned the importance of wearing proper protective equipment from their feet to their head. It was a unique experience to see the entire silicon wafer process from the silicone seed and growth through the final polishing steps. We also meet with a company run by a Washington University alumni developing a non-invasive optical imaging technology for the medical field. Not only were the students able to see how a start-up company is established, they heard how this former Washington University student used campus resources during his time at WashU to help prepare for his future career.

An important aspect of the trip is to experience the culture and people of Taiwan. This trip provided an extra amount of local travel taking us to major cities like Taipei and Hsinchu, and to other remote areas like an air monitoring station on the northern coast and a weekend trip to Yilan County. These trips allowed us to visit a variety of Taiwanese culture. Among some of the sites we toured included; Fuguijiao Lighthouse, TAIPEI 101 Tower, National Palace Museum, temples, night markets, Yilan region, and many restaurants. We were fortunate to have several NTU and NCTU students and faculty accompany us during our time together.

This trip allowed students to see and experience the beauty, history, and future of Taiwan. The students obtained a greater appreciations of global issues that will benefit them as they continue their education.