For Spring Break 2014, I took a trip to Mandeville, Jamaica, with a number of fellow UT students and Judith Mallory, our trip organizer and leader. We went to experience the culture, learn about the way of life of another group of people, and build a new restroom for some school children in the community. Certainly, the trip proved to be culturally and educationally valuable and our group made progress on the school bathroom, but my most valuable takeaway turned out to be something that I did not expect.
When my friends heard I was travelling to Jamaica for spring break, so many of them replied with, “Wow! I’m so jealous! It’s beautiful there; you’ll have so much fun!” I understood what they meant—they were picturing warm sandy beaches and the cool turquoise ocean on the edges of the island. However, that wasn’t the experience that awaited me in Mandeville that week.
By the second day, we had already adjusted to the lifestyle. We were fed another huge meal and shipped off to work. Percy quickly gave us tasks, calling us by our appearance (beard guy, blonde girl) in an accent that only a few of us could understand. The trenches for the bathroom foundation had already been dug, so we started on the concrete.
Joining students on the project from as far away as Germany, Israel, Denmark, and Austria, the group set about the construction of a bathroom (known in Jamaica as an “Ablutions Block”) at the Richmond Primary school, established in the 1850s, to replace an aging and dangerous pit latrine system.
When I first heard that I was going to Jamaica to do some construction work, I had little idea what to expect. I expected there to be construction work, and I expected there to be Jamaicans, but everything else was shrouded in mystery.
“The big goal is to raise awareness of engineering opportunities at Tennessee for these students,” said Engineering Diversity Program Director Travis Griffin. “A major part of that is showing them the kinds of things that they will be working on and the kind of people they will be working with.”
“Exascale computing (capable of one quintillion floating point operations per second) will enable us to solve problems in ways that are not feasible today and will result in significant scientific breakthroughs,” said Dongarra, of the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
One of the fastest growing graduate programs at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has again risen in the 2015 U.S. News and World Report graduate rankings released today. UT’s graduate program in nuclear engineering now ranks fifth among all universities in the nation.
With more than $56 million in research gifts, grants, and contracts (many of them focused on energy research), the college is committed to innovation in the energy market.
Students pursuing this degree complete the sixteen-course, four-semester program as an ensemble, attending all-day Friday classes not held on the university campus.
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