USAID BUILD-IT & Dow Vietnam link industry and young engineers
USAID BUILD-IT and the Dow Vietnam STEM Program on March 16 hosted their second eProjects Innovation Showcase at Cao Thang Technical College. The showcase allowed student teams from across Vietnam to demonstrate their industry-mentored prototypes to peers and professionals from across Vietnam. The showcase was abuzz with students, professionals, and academics sharing innovations in plastic recycling, biodegradable chewing gum, and eco-friendly packaging materials.
During the showcase, judges celebrated projects with the most effective solution, teamwork, and presentation. Teams from Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, Da Nang University of Technology, and Ho Chi Minh City of Technology and Education won prizes for innovations in repurpose paint materials, online platform for plastic waste management and biodegradable chewing gum respectively. Held back-to-back with the Innovation Showcase, six young researchers were honored for their early findings in the Undergraduate Research Initiative - an ongoing research mentoring program where students and faculty leverage research methods to address social challenges.
Over the last semester, eProjects teams developed their prototypes through regular consultation with professional mentors. The mentors set out the vision for each project, shared their technical expertise, and met with students to build their prototypes. Since September, teams worked online, on campus, and even at Dow's production plant to build and test their prototypes. During eProjects, the students learned technical communication, team collaboration, and project management. Through patient mentoring, the students developed the soft and technical skills needed to succeed in advanced science and technology careers.
For the fourth consecutive year, USAID BUILD-IT and Dow Vietnam piloted industry-linked applied projects in innovation, entrepreneurship, and research. To date, Dow Vietnam has leveraged over $110,000 to provide more than 800 opportunities to students to gain the confidence and capacity to lead engineering and social innovations. Dow Vietnam is committed to continuing eProjects into 2022.
"Dow aims to be the most innovative, customer-centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company in the world. We are delighted to collaborate with Vietnam’s leading universities to implement student-led projects and reinforce the university-industry linkages that address our sustainability challenges.” Mr. Ekkasit Lakkananithiphan, President of Dow Vietnam shared.
The USAID BUILD-IT Alliance is a public-private partnership founded to support world-class engineering programs for work-ready graduates in Vietnam. Implemented by Arizona State University, BUILD-IT has leveraged over six million dollars in industry contributions to support its university partners to revamp their curricula, adopt new learning technologies, develop leadership capacity, and achieve international accreditation.
Speaking to the showcase attendees, USAID Vietnam’s Acting Mission Director Bradley Bessire shared, "These applied projects demonstrate how the BUILD-IT Alliance links industry expertise with universities’ teaching capacity to give students experiences that develop both the technical and soft skills they’ll need to succeed in Vietnam’s ever more advanced workforce.”