After Mines

Graduates of our HE programs will have unique knowledge, skills and attitudes that are highly desired by both non-profit (NGOSs) and for-profit organizations.  But you have to remember that your commitment to humanitarian engineering is for the long haul so your first entry job might not be directly related to community development or corporate social responsibility. So here are general considerations to begin your career in ways that allows you to be financially stable, develop your knowledge/skill set, and integrate your interests and passions for both engineering and positive social change.

SEEKING A JOB

If you are seeking a job after graduation:

  • Make sure that you know how to highlight your HE background in your resume and job interviews. (Remember that if you completed the Peace Corps Prep Program, you will receive preferential treatment if you apply for a Peace Corps volunteer position)
  • Find a first interesting and challenging job that will help you pay your student loans (and other debt) while ensuring that the company’s values, location, work schedules, etc. will allow you to remain committed to your passion for humanitarian engineering.
  • Once you have begun developing your knowledge/skill set, consider careers in the non-profit sector and in international development while making sure that you understand their implications for your career as an engineer.
  • After a couple of years gaining experience as an engineer, you could consider joining the Engineering Service Corps.

 

If you would like to attend graduate school:

  • Consider applying to graduate programs that will allow you to deepen your interest, knowledge and skills in HE-related fields.

 

If you follow this advice, your career over the years could look something like this, with your ability to land positions with high relevance to HE increasing after you have established your credibility in jobs that offer important skills and experience even if they do not directly relate to HE.

HE GRADUATES

Humanitarian Engineering — what is it good for out in the real world? According to students who have participated in the groundbreaking interdisciplinary program, a whole lot…

Nate Dauth

Mines graduate Nate Dauth has long been interested in international development. A few years back he helped found the Mines student chapter of Engineers Without Borders (now known as Mines Without Borders) — and made several construction trips to Nicaragua as a result.

EWB, he says, was “one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. The club gave me the opportunity to apply myself, allowed me to explore a new corner of the world, and showed me how a small group of inspired students can make a big difference.”

Nate adds that the club “provides incredible opportunities to learn and grow and I highly recommend that anyone join, especially if they’re interested in humanitarian engineering or development work.”

While not an official Humanitarian Engineering student himself, Nate calls the HE course Engineering and Sustainable Community Development “the most rewarding class I ever took in college.”

Development, he discovered, is not just a matter of getting the technology right. You have to understand the cultural context as well. “Learning the context of why sustainable development is the way it is today was eye opening and it motivated me to continue learning about SCD. It was engaging, informative, and very much relevant to what I do now.”

After graduation from Mines, Nate served as a Peace Corps volunteer (or PCV) in Paraguay, stationed in idyllic Capilla Cué east of the capital Asuncion, returning in 2016. The area’s hills, forests, streams and waterfalls (left) give it the nickname “Eden of the Cordillera.” His assignment involved environmental issues, including working with a farmer’s organization to conserve fragile local soils. He also worked with a local youth group to take up conservation issues.

After graduation from Mines, Nate served as a Peace Corps volunteer (or PCV) in Paraguay, stationed in idyllic Capilla Cué east of the capital Asuncion, returning in 2016. The area’s hills, forests, streams and waterfalls (left) give it the nickname “Eden of the Cordillera.” His assignment involved environmental issues, including working with a farmer’s organization to conserve fragile local soils. He also worked with a local youth group to take up conservation issues.

Molly Jane Roby (neé Perkins)

For recent Humanitarian Engineering Program graduate Molly Jane Roby (neé Perkins), the biggest storms used to come in June. “Right now it is time to batten down the hatches,” she once wrote. “The rains have started and they are gathering momentum. We get a storm about every 2 or 3 days. It builds up after an intense day of heat, with dark storm clouds over Togo, to the north-east of Zabzugu. The clouds move west within less than an hour, and the downpour begins.”

In 2012, Molly and her husband Seth left Colorado to become Peace Corps Volunteers in Ghana. (They finished their service in May 2014.)

Molly calls the Humanitarian Engineering capstone course, Engineering and Sustainable Community Development, the “best class” she ever took at Mines. It was, she says, the “class that prepared me for development work as an engineer.”

“I guess the biggest takeaway I had from the Humanitarian Engineering Program is that development work (through HE) is not about showing people a new technology that they should use, but rather working with the people to understand what they need and show them that they can develop their own tools and technologies out of their own knowledge and local resources.”

Later on, Molly and Seth became Peace Corps volunteer leaders, chosen from among their peers for their exemplary work and knowledge of community development.

You can read all about their Peace Corps experience in their blog, The Robys Go to Ghana. And don’t miss Molly’s “10 Things I Take for Granted Living in Zabzugu.”

Sheena Ong

Sheena Ong is a documentary filmmaker, engineer and member of Engineers Without Border from Australia who created a documentary film on humanitarian engineers. For the trailer of this film and for more information on this project please visit: http://the-humanitarian-engineer.com

GRADUATE PROGRAMS

ENGINEERING GRAD PROGRAMS

Engineering for Developing Communities, University of Colorado at Boulder

Engineering for Developing Communities, University of Colorado at Boulder: A research, educational, and outreach program designed to develop globally responsible engineering students and professionals who can offer sustainable and appropriate solutions to the endemic problems faced by developing communities worldwide.

Development Engineering, University of California-Berkeley

Development Engineering, University of California-Berkeley. This is an emerging field of research that focuses on technology interventions designed to improve human and economic development within complex, low resource settings.

D-Lab at MIT

D-Lab at MIT. The program’s mission is pursued through interdisciplinary courses, research in collaboration with global partners, technology development, and community initiatives — all of which emphasize experiential learning, real-world projects, community-led development, and scalability.

Masters Program in Human Centered Design and Engineering

Masters program in Human Centered Design and Engineering, University of Washington: A graduate degree focused on the practice of designing and building innovative technologies and systems. “Putting people first, HCDE students and faculty research, design, and engineer interactions between humans and technology. With a focus on understanding human needs and interests, HCDE students and faculty work together to solve engineering design problems and build engineering solutions.”

Graduate Concentration in Engineering for International Development Program in Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of South Florida

Graduate Concentration in Engineering for International Development Program in Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of South Florida. One year at USF taking coursework that includes global health, applied anthropology, and a Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WaSH) engineering. Long-term (1-2 years) overseas development experience serving with a Nongovernmental Organization or in the Peace Corps or three year Master’s Degree in Civil or Environmental Engineering with Concentration in Engineering for International Development

Sustainable Futures IGERT program : Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship

Sustainable Futures IGERT program : Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship: This program aims to integrate the disciplines of green engineering and social sciences to produce professionals who will achieve future environmental, industrial, and societal sustainability. IGERT students receive an annual stipend of $30,000 and a cost-of-education allowance used to pay tuition and fees.

NON-ENGINEERING GRAD PROGRAMS

Masters of Science in Global Technology and Development, Arizona State University

Masters of Science in Global Technology and Development, Arizona State University. The Master of Science in global technology & development focuses on international socioeconomic and political change, emphasizing technology and the current processes of globalization.

Master of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development, Penn State

Master of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development, Penn State. With Penn State’s online MPS in Community and Economic Development, you can gain the knowledge you need to navigate the complexities of communities and community organizations and inspire positive changes on a local, regional, and national level.

Humanitarian Academy, Harvard University.
University of Washington – Law of Sustainable Development Graduate Program

University of Washington – Law of Sustainable Development Graduate Program: This is the first graduate program at a U.S. law school to focus on sustainable and international development. The program offers courses in areas of the student’s interest including law, public policy, economics, political science, international studies, sociology, public health, and environmental studies.

The Graduate Certificate in Sustainability, Michigan Tech

The Graduate Certificate in Sustainability, Michigan Tech: Formally recognizes curricular breadth in policy, societal and economic systems, environmental systems, and industrial systems. Students also have the opportunity to achieve specialized education in engineering, forestry, science, social sciences, humanities, business, and economics.

PROGRAMS BEYOND THE US

Masters of Science in Engineering for International Development, University College of London

Masters of Science in Engineering for International Development, University College of London. Students gain understanding of infrastructure design and delivery processes in resource-limited settings, and learn how to mobilise technical expertise to develop solutions with local stakeholders in a global context. The wide range of taught modules also provides opportunity to critically engage with the complexities and ethical dilemmas of working as an engineer internationally.

Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden: This program has two parallel study majors, both having a strong environmental focus: Sustainable Power Generation and Sustainable Energy Utilization in the Built Environment. Students learn state-of-the-art education in the fields of power generation and energy utilization in the built environment by means of economically and environmentally sustainable systems.

Development and Emergency Practice, Oxford Brookes University

Development and Emergency Practice, Oxford Brookes University. The Development and Emergency Practice (DEP) course provides a unique academic setting for the study of international development, conflict, disaster management, urbanisation, humanitarianism and human rights. With its emphasis on practice, the course offers students the opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes in the rapidly changing fields of development and emergencies.