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SEMINAR: A Case Study of a Culturally Responsive Introduction to Engineering for Pre-College Tibetans at Tibetan Children's Village, Selakui (Uttarakhand, India): Summary of Doctoral Fieldwork

Event Date: February 28, 2013
Speaker: Marisol Mercado
Speaker Affiliation: School of Engineering Education
Time: 3:30-4:20pm
Location: ARMS B071
Contact Name: Dr. Alice Pawley
Contact Email:

In this presentation I will share a summary of my doctoral research fieldwork in India, conducted in Tibetan communities in Dehradun (Uttarakhand) and Dharamsala, Kangra (Himachal Pradesh). I conducted an important part of the fieldwork in Tibetan Children’s Village at Selakui (Dehradun) where I developed and taught a short course “Introduction to Engineering.” Under my guidance, pre-college Tibetan students from upper grades experienced different stages of an engineering design model to design solutions to the school’s problems. They reused “waste” materials and local resources, mostly found in the school, to make their solutions. In addition to teaching the course, I conducted interviews with Tibetan teachers, Tibetan engineers, and monastics. My research questions are (1) How Tibetan culture and Buddhism influence in the engineering thinking of Tibetans in exile? (2) What are the steps that Marisol undertook with the Tibetan community in exile in order to develop and implement a culturally responsive Introduction to Engineering?  I will share a brief summary of all the activities, starting from a US non-profit (Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center) up to Tibetan Children’s Village.

Marisol Mercado Santiago is a doctoral candidate in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She was granted an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to conduct this research in 2011. Her research area is in the intersection of Buddhism and engineering education. E-mail: