Community service agencies face a future in which they must take advantage of technology to improve, coordinate, account for, and deliver the services they provide. They need the help of people with strong technical backgrounds. Undergraduate students face a future in which they will need more than solid expertise in their discipline to succeed. They will be expected to work with people of many different backgrounds to identify and achieve goals. They need educational experiences that can help them broaden their skills.
The challenge is to bring these two groups together in a mutually beneficial way. It was specifically to address this challenge that the EPICS program was created. The end result? Benefits to the students and to the community!
EPICS is a unique program in which teams of undergraduates are designing, building, and deploying real systems to solve engineering-based problems for local community service and education organizations. EPICS was founded at Purdue University in Fall 1995 and has since spread to a diverse group of Universities in the United States and abroad, as well as to a number of k12 programs.
Each team has a multi-year partnership with a community service or education organization. Projects are in four broad areas: human services, access and abilities, education and outreach, and the environment. EPICS teams have delivered hundreds of projects to their community partners.
Fulfilling Mutual Needs
EPICS students gain long-term define-design-build-test-deploy-support experience, communication skills, experience on multidisciplinary teams, and leadership and project management skills. They gain an awareness of professional ethics, the role of the customer in engineering design, and the role that engineering can play in the community. Community organizations gain access to technology and expertise that would normally be prohibitively expensive, giving them the potential to improve their quality of service or to provide new services. I
Awards and Recognition
EPICS has received major awards from the Carnegie Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the American Society for Engineering Education, the IEEE Education Society, Campus Compact, the Corporate and Foundation Alliance, Purdue University, and the Governor and Legislature of Indiana. It was featured in the PBS series Communities Building Community. EPICS has been supported by over $5.1M in federal grants and over $5.5M in corporate and alumni gifts
For more information about EPICS, contact us:
Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering
701 W Stadium Ave
West Lafayette, IN 47907