May 22 - June 12, 2017

Required Course: ENGR 290 Engineering in a Global/Societal Context


Engineering in a Global and Societal Context is a three-week study abroad course in which students experience the global and societal context of engineering including the impact of traditions, customs, and culture on engineering. This course can be counted as an Integrated Perspective (IP) Course.

The program theme for the 2017 Iceland trip will be the balancing act of sustainability, preparation for natural disaster, innovation and creativity in a very traditional society, and engineering in extreme environments. The trip will focus on understanding how the culture of Iceland, since its founding in ca. 871 A.D., has impacted the development of its infrastructure and industry; at the same time, the society needed to retain a healthy respect for and find means for accommodating the powerful natural forces to which they are exposed. The glaciers and volcanoes set the theme for the trip, Iceland: Fire and Ice, a Balancing Act in Extreme Engineering. Among other topics, the national energy policy (Iceland's energy consumption is very close to 100% renewable energy), the national ocean policy, and the national natural disaster emergency response plan and policies will be explored. Conversations concerning the Icelandic perceptions of the impact of global warming on the future of Iceland will be sought out. Policies and government encouragement for further development of the Icelandic industrial base through innovation and creativity will be explored. A basic understanding of the Icelandic political system will be needed to be able to put these issues into the proper context.


All continuing engineering majors in good standing who have completed their sophomore or junior year at the time of the course are invited to apply. Information sessions will be available early in the fall semester. Students who have completed their first year in engineering may apply and will be considered based upon available space and their qualifications. Students in allied majors (physical sciences, mathematics) may also be eligible and should contact faculty directors for more information.

This course will involve traveling through ancient and modern sites as well as hiking in a variety of terrains (sometimes steep or uneven). Weather conditions may vary dramatically (hot and cold, bright warm sunshine, rain or snow). Each participant will be responsible for handling their own luggage.

Program Contacts

Laura Beninati (mechanical engineering)
308 Dana Engineering Bldg. P: 570.577.1886

Charles Knisely (mechanical engineering)
73 Breakiron Engineering Bldg. P: 570.577.1817


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