While lawyers are encouraged to do charity work through what are called pro-bono cases, an Iowa State University mechanical engineering professor has created a group that urges engineers to do likewise. I-S-U’s Mark Bryden is co-founder and president of ETHOS, Engineers in Technical and Humanitarian Opportunities of Service. Bryden says ETHOS has grown exponentially in the few years since it was founded.
ETHOS is having a meeting in Seattle, Washington, on January 28-29 and it will include about 100 members from some 30 non-governmental agencies, research labs, other universities like U-C Berkeley, Colorado State and many other practicing engineers from private firms and students. Bryden says the non-profit group aims to get all sorts of organizations working together to create and then disseminate the best available appropriate technology to families in need.
He says many other groups cater to students in order to create good student experiences in third-world countries or other nations to develop an appreciation for diversity, which is an excellent thing to do, but ETHOS specifically targets opportunities for engineers. Bryden says the organization is designed to help practicing engineers and engineering students build pathways toward helping others.
He sums up the goal as being “to make a difference and to get people connected on the ground so that when you’re sitting here in Iowa you can say ‘Oh, we went to Honduras and we determined how to change this manufacturing item and that’s how it’s being done now,’ so there’s a difference made. When you get done, something changed.” For more information, surf to “www.vrac.iastate.edu/ethos”.