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Bass Connections: Energy and the Environment (ENERGY 395)

Durham, North Carolina

Description: This design-oriented Bass Connections program focuses on exploring innovative solutions to society’s demand for clean, affordable and reliable energy. My project team is focusing on how power can be generated by a person’s routine or interactions with their environment. Inspired by Pavegen’s kinetic tiles, the project team is designing an energy-harvesting backpack. The team is employing several energy-harvesting systems, such as electromagnetic and piezoelectric systems, to produce a cutting-edge design targeted for campers/survivalists and military training personnel.

Relation to GC Focus: Energy is a critical component of a society’s infrastructure, and as technology is becoming increasingly prominent in people’s daily routines, the need for electricity has been higher than ever before. People need to charge their electronics, all the meanwhile power their lights, heating, etc. The grid is straining to keep up with the rapidly growing demand for power, and innovative solutions, such as the energy-harvesting backpack, provide creative power sources for small electronics, such as phones, watches, and laptops. Even though the design of such backpack seems small in the grand scheme of a society’s infrastructure, with a successful design and effective commercialization, the marketing of small products that produce power from people’s interactions or routine have the potential to decrease demand on the grid. Working on this project has shown me how to think creatively to solve society’s most serious issues, and I have also become more aware of how I interact with my surroundings and how often I rely on energy sources to power the devices that I use daily.

Instructor: Dr. Josiah D. Knight and Dr. Emily Klein

Dates: August 2020 to May 2021

Total Hours: 160 hours

German Literature and Culture (GERMAN 352)

Berlin, Germany

Description: German Literature and Culture (GERMAN 352) was an immersive and engaging course that focused on the development of Germany’s culture starting as early as the 18th century with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and continuing to present day. By exploring the evolution of the German culture, the class was able to reflect how aspects of the German culture — especially cinema, social expectations, music, and stereotypes — and historical pressures were reflected in prominent literature over the past centuries. In addition to taking German Literature and Culture (GERMAN 352), I also took Contemporary Art in Berlin (GERMAN 354), Advanced Intensive German (GERMAN 319), Intensive German for Engineers (GERMAN 213), and Intermediate German (GERMAN 203 and 204).

Relation to GC Focus: Just as the US’ infrastructure has had a history of being destroyed and restored, so has the German infrastructure. Infrastructure is inherently related to a nation’s culture and reflects the historic pressures of its time: The infrastructural landscape of Germany has changed dramatically over the past century due to industrial breakthroughs, wars, restoration, and renovation. Just transportation alone has seen a dramatic makeover in the last 100 years, such as the construction of the subway system in the early 1900s, the bombings during WWII that led to the destruction of the integrity of these systems, the introduction of the Berlin Wall that caused rerouting, and the national reunification and rapid modernization of Germany that led to a bustling urban center by early 2000s. By studying several aspects of the German culture and language as well as the history, I have began to gather how analyzing another culture as well as the sociopolitical and historic pressures can shed light on the infrastructure developments, and I am very interested in learning how familiarizing oneself with another culture can allow one to develop culturally-sensitive and sustainable solutions in the future.

Instructor: Dr. Jochen Wohlfeil

Dates: January 2020 to June 2020

Total Hours: 80 hours

The Philharmonie, one of the most famous concert halls in Berlin that was just west of the Berlin Wall. The Philharmonie was rebuilt in 1960, replacing the former concert hall that was destroyed by bombs in 1944.
Ticket and brochure to the Philharmonie.









Urban Wildlife Conservation (WRITING 101)

Durham, North Carolina

Description: Throughout this course, I studied how the rapid expansion of urban centers has affected the encounters between wildlife and human developments. By reading numerous case studies, such as the mountain lions in Los Angeles, wild boars in Berlin, and baboons in Cape Town, I analyzed the challenges to conserving wildlife in urban areas and I evaluated the policies and practices that local governments, researchers, and nonprofit organizations develop to minimize human-wildlife conflict in cities.

Relation to GC Focus: This course was directly related to my GCS focus, as I studied the effects of urban infrastructure on natural habitat. As cities expand, the urban infrastructure must both be developed and improved to accommodate for the growing population, but these developments come at the cost of natural habitat. This course has made me aware of how urban infrastructure can pose permanent threats to the wildlife surrounding a city, and as I continue to address this challenge, I plan to consider how new or improved developments may affect local wildlife.

Instructor: Dr. Lindsey W. Smith

Dates: August 2018 to December 2018

Total Hours: 80 hours