Flood mitigation and adaptation measures, among other tools to improve resiliency, will be necessary to sustain coastal communities in the face of climate change. Key to successful adaptation will be engineering projects, and critical to the success of those projects will be community engagement and support. Despite the recognized importance of community engagement when addressing complex issues like coastal flooding on which engineers work, most undergraduate engineering programs offer little to no training in community engagement. In this paper, we describe our experiences working with undergraduate engineering students to develop community-driven designs to address flooding and water quality issues in the Lake Mattamuskeet watershed in eastern North Carolina. Through an interdisciplinary approach, student teams learned to engage with local stakeholders to better integrate local knowledge and address issues identified by community members in their designs. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all community engagement aspects of the project moved to virtual forums, and we discuss the impact this shift had on the engineering designs as well as student learning outcomes and community connections.
Virtually Engineering Community Engagement: Training for Undergraduate Engineers During the COVID-19 Pandemic
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Cynthia A. Grace-McCaskey, Linda D’Anna, Kyra Selina Hagge, Randall Etheridge, Raymond L. Smith; Virtually Engineering Community Engagement: Training for Undergraduate Engineers During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Human Organization 1 September 2022; 81 (3): 217–228. doi: https://doi.org/10.17730/1938-3525-81.3.217
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