Why Undergraduate Research?
Bucknell offers undergraduate students across different disciplines the unique opportunity to be involved with undergraduate research throughout their college career. Many undergraduate students take advantage of research opportunities across campus to add a different aspect to their learning experience. When involved with undergraduate research, students are able to explore topics they are passionate about and apply what they are learning in the classroom to real life situations.
The ProSEC research team has found that this project relates to many different disciplines, but is specifically connected to the Managing for Sustainability program within the School of Management. The idea behind the Project for Sustainable Eye Care is to lay the foundation for an organization that will provide a need to an area of the world with limited resources. More importantly, however, the organization will remain functional and continue to grow and provide for the community in the distant future.
This research has furthermore fostered the idea of the importance of having a global mindset. When looking at how to create a fully functioning business in a different part of the world than we live in, students and faculty are challenged to look at the issues from another point of view. Learning and thinking with a global mindset is something the research team always has to be striving towards. But, one aspect of the project that has fostered this mindset is through the travel down to Guatemala where the team was able to experience the culture and talk with the people. The team has been able to gather vital information to work off of and develop ideas from just by traveling to the town where the organization will be established.
Now more than ever, Bucknell has placed an emphasis on developing a global mindset in students, in academic work as well as service learning. Since 1998, the Bucknell Brigade has sent students, staff, and faculty to Nueva Vida, Nicaragua three times a year to do extracurricular service work. And the advent of Katrina Recovery trips date to Fall Break 2005; similar groups travel to coastal Mississippi and Louisiana to help rebuild and provide services to those in need. Because student interest in these opportunities far outpaces availability, we are certain that subsequent iterations of this vision care project will generate more than ample interest to enable us to touch the lives of thousands of people in developing countries for many years to come. San Pedro, Guatemala is the pilot location for ProSEC. If our efforts prove to be successful in this pilot location, we would look to expand the project to other locations in Guatemala, and then elsewhere in the world.
Why Interdisciplinary Research?
Project for Sustainable Eye Care is a unique undergraduate research experience due to its interdisciplinary nature. The cooperative project between mechanical engineering and management students and professors enables participants to learn how to communicate complex ideas to others who are not familiar with the subject. In this way, the project mimics the work experiences that the students will have after graduating, as they work with people with different knowledge sets. Participants also gain an understanding of the other discipline.