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IGERT Trainee & Faculty Participate In Exciting Interdisciplinary Experience in Accra


IGERT Trainee Rishee Jain shares his experience working alongside IGERT Faculty Dr. Elliot Sclar on exciting interdisciplinary project in Accra, Ghana.

“As an IGERT trainee, I had the opportunity to partake in a unique multi-disciplinary studio that brought together graduate students from engineering, urban planning, and public affairs. Our studio’s mission: tackle some of the urbanization challenges facing Nima, a slum community in the heart of Accra, Ghana.

With the guidance of our professor, we conducted field research during a one week trip to Accra and began to work towards innovative solutions for the residents of Nima. Out of our class discussions, the idea to implement a hybrid bicycle ambulance system emerged. Because of a lack of roads within Nima, currently sick and injured residents have to be carried on back to the main arteries up to a mile away. A bicycle ambulance would ease this burden and increase penetration of emergency services to the whole community.

Traditionally in a project like this, the engineers would have designed the ambulance, the planners would have laid out feasible routes, and the public affairs students would have created a community involvement program. However, as we became invested in our project these discipline silos began to dissolve. We found ourselves working collaboratively on each aspect of the project; the result was a plan that outlined concrete steps for designing and implementing a local community endorsed bicycle ambulance system.

The experience of participating in the IGERT program and studio has allowed me to experience inter-disciplinary collaboration firsthand and supplement classroom discussion with field research. I hope to continue building on this foundation of collaboration and apply it to my research regarding urban energy use as I progress through the IGERT program."