Innovation in Marginalized Communities: the View from International Development - Seminar

Event Date: March 8, 2012
Speaker: Lindsey Nelson
Speaker Affiliation: Doctoral Student, School of Engineering Education, Purdue University
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: Forney, G-124
Contact Name: Dr. Demetra Evangelou
Contact Phone: 494-4158
Contact Email:

Increasingly, engineering educators and students want to connect engineering activities with real community needs. Several engineering education scholars critically discuss sustainable community development as a way to pursue social justice. These scholars frequently criticize mainstream international development, rightly recognizing that global economic growth leaves people living in poverty behind amid rising inequality. However, many international development scholars and practitioners propose alternate models of pro-poor growth. The purpose of this seminar is to highlight theoretical frameworks from international development that can help engineers cultivate pro-poor innovation systems that build a more equitable and inclusive world. I will review how development practitioners evaluate impacts of technical projects in communities while showcasing dominant research frameworks. To provide clearer connections with engineering education research, I will discuss methods of evaluating professional engineering practice in marginalized communities and identify some implications for global engineering education programs.

Lindsey Nelson is a doctoral student in Engineering Education. She has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University and an MA in Poverty and Development from the Institute of Development Studies housed at the University of Sussex in England. Her research interests include sustainable design, engineering design methodologies, the public’s understanding of engineering, poverty mitigation, global participation, and engineering education. She is a passionate advocate for inclusive and socially-just engineering professional practice.