The Engineering Projects in Community Service program, known as EPICS, is a national award-winning social entrepreneurship program. Teams design, build and deploy systems to solve engineering-based problems for charities, schools and other not-for-profit organizations. Our students aren’t waiting to graduate to make a difference—they are tackling real-world problems today.

Fit Start Kids is a semi-finalist

Posted by on Jan 5, 2015 in News and Events, Teams | Comments Off

The EPICS Team, Fit Start Kids, has just been announced as a semi-finalist in the Social Venture Partners (SVP) 2015 Fast Pitch Challenge!

Fit Start Kids is developing a program where volunteers act as mentors to elementary and middle school children in order to encourage better exercise and health habits in youth.  They are 1 of 3 ASU teams that made it to the semi-finals!  The competition will take place March 4, 2015 starting at 4:30pm with registration at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

Applicants were rated based upon: social problem, organization & programs, innovation, potential for significant societal impact and Wow! factor.

SVP Fast Pitch Arizona is a two month communication skills building program and competition for innovative nonprofits in Maricopa County.  The program equips nonprofit leaders to communication their story powerfully and connects them with leaders of the business and funding communities who can help them create a significant community impact.

Learn more here.

a free two-month communication skills building program and competition for innovative nonprofits in Maricopa County. The program equips nonprofit leaders to communicate their story powerfully and connects them with leaders of the business and funding communities who can help them create significant community impact. – See more at: http://www.socialventurepartners.org/arizona/fast-pitch/#sthash.TkjNTz8o.dpuf
a free two-month communication skills building program and competition for innovative nonprofits in Maricopa County. The program equips nonprofit leaders to communicate their story powerfully and connects them with leaders of the business and funding communities who can help them create significant community impact. – See more at: http://www.socialventurepartners.org/arizona/fast-pitch/#sthash.TkjNTz8o.dpuf


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33 Buckets travels to Bangladesh

Posted by on Dec 31, 2014 in News and Events, Teams | Comments Off

The 33 Buckets team set out on their journey this week to Bangladesh to deliver their prototype!  The team has worked over the past year on reforming their team, finding alternative solutions and funding to be able to travel abroad.

33 Buckets will revolutionize the distribution of potable water in Bangladesh, by providing schools with the upfront capital required to install comprehensive water filters while simultaneously establishing sustainable microbusinesses that encourage local entrepreneurs to sell affordable, clean water in their communities. To kick-start our project, we are focusing our efforts on the Rahima Hoque Girls’ School in Baher Char, Bangladesh. Our pilot project will provide clean water to the girls who attend the Rahima Hoque School, and will also provide bulk packages of water to be sold to shop owners at a very low price. Revenue from water sales will cover the maintenance of the water filter and provide funding for the school, while creating an economic incentive for the distribution of clean water throughout the community.

Best of luck to the team in their travel and implementation!

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EPICS Team: Engineering Smiles meets with IMA Helps

Posted by on Oct 30, 2014 in News and Events, Teams | Comments Off

The EPICS Team, Engineering Smiles, has made advanced progress on their design for providing a surgical dental unit for countries in Central America.  The team has worked all summer to be able to further advance their project.  In early October, the team hosted their community partner, IMA Helps, on campus.  The group met with IMA Helps to update them on their plans, receive feedback from the company and to showcase their project to the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering Dean Johnson.  Interested in learning more about the team?  Visit them on Facebookengineering smiles here or visit their website.

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EPICS Program featured in the Mesa Legend

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in News and Events, Teams | Comments Off

Story written by Kian Hagerman, Mesa Legend

For many who seek to affect change in the world, the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program at ASU offers opportunities to do so.

Originating at Purdue University, ASU is one of 20 universities involved in the national EPICS program.

The national program offers methods for any institution to develop an EPICS program; schools have to apply, including information about the class or classes that will be offered and how the standards of the EPICS program are met.

“EPICS is a great opportunity for students to get involved and have a positive impact on their community.  EPICS is designed to allow students to work on real projects positively impacting the lives of real people,” said Scott Shrake, EPICS director at ASU. “Students will actively work on refining their design skills, specifically through using a human centered design approach.  It’s a strong class for professional development, building group and team working skills, presentation skills, etc.”

According to the EPICS@ASU website, volunteers and students in the program join teams that work on different projects with varying goals for not-for-profit organizations; the team Fiji Lights designed and created prototype sustainable lighting for the populace of Fiji.

“We have almost 40 active projects with 30-plus community partners on a local, national, and international scale,” Shrake said. “Engineering Smiles – a group partnering with the International Medical Alliance is developing a mobile dental surgical clinic for use in developing countries.”

To read the entire article you can click here.

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First EPICS Networking Reception a success

Posted by on Sep 26, 2013 in News and Events | Comments Off

The Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program hosted the program’s first ever Networking Reception on September 23, 2013.  The event promoted industry and community partners to connect with EPICS high school and college students.  Dr. Scott Shrake, EPICS director, welcomed industry and community partners from Intel, Honeywell, City of Tempe Vice Mayor  – Onnie Shekerjian, members of the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation department, Changemaker Central @ ASU, Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services (STARS) and many more were enthused to interact and help EPICS students build their networks and perfect their professional skills.  EPICS High teachers and students from Cesar Chavez High School and ASU Preparatory Academy -Polytechnic were also in attendance as some of EPICS new high schools partners!

Interested in EPICS?  Visit epics.engineering.asu.edu to learn more or enroll in FSE 194: EPICS Gold I for spring 2014!

Questions regarding EPICS, contact Jade Silva, coordinator-undergraduate student engagement at jade.silva@asu.edu.

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Fiji Lights launch prototype

Posted by on Aug 26, 2013 in News and Events, Teams | Comments Off

The EPICS Team, Fiji Lights, launched their first prototype in July 2013 after a variety of trials and tribulations with their initial models.  Fiji Lights is committed to designing and building a sustainable lighting system for schools in Fiji that do not have access to fuels and electricity after the sun sets, this summer marked their first attempt in being the solution to creating better conditions for students in Fiji.  The team first formed as they were interested in energy, education and the environment.  They all share the same commitment to help others through innovation.

The Fiji Lights team discovered that in Fiji most students are only able to work on homework and studying during the sunlit hours of the day before they have to move to kerosene lamps or are not able to study at all which leads to poor performance in their school.  The team also was concerned with the safety of the students and their families by burning kerosene lamps. This understanding of the circumstances of students in Fiji sparked an interest in the students in EPICS. How could they provide a safer environment for Fiji students to be able to study and do homework while also being cost efficient?

The team first started their project in January of 2013 and began working on a solution to assist students in Fiji. The team’s idea was to have a prototype that met the socioeconomic needs of the Fiji students.  What they did not realize was that their initial prototype was not safe and was not practical to life in Fiji, one of the members of the team nearly caught on fire!  The team went back to finding a prototype that met multiple needs of those in Fiji while also ensuring that it was a product that could be sustainable without a lot of work for the users.  That is when the team turned to basic needs. The idea that needs had to be met first: safety, efficiency, aesthetic appeal and simplicity so that Fiji students could also learn how energy worked and could also reproduce the lights is where the team spent their time refocusing.

The team then found an opportunity for their second prototype to be shipped but it would have to be ready by the end of June 2013.  There was not a moment to spare and Fiji Lights rose to the occasion by diligently working on the second design and building of the prototype. The team first built the charging station where the energy would be captured through the sun by a solar panel  then the lighting structure and lastly, the team hooked up all components and studied the exchange of power from the sun to the solar panel, to the batteries and then to the lights. The team found that their second prototype’s initial testing went far better than their first!  The second prototype lasted for over 10 hours on just one 12 volt battery.

Currently Fiji Lights is testing their prototype in Fiji and hope to hear news soon on the success and/or problems with the prototype.  The team is currently applying for funding and is researching ways to generate more innovative ideas to create electricity for lights.  They would like to explore lights powered by kinetics and biomass energy.

Fiji Lights is composed of the following students:

  • Brendan Cahill: Chemical Engineering, Sophomore
  • Daniel D’Ippolito: Mechanical Engineering, Sophomore
  • Phoebe Henson: Electrical Engineering, Junior
  • Morgan Kelley: Chemical Engineering, Sophomore
  • Rebecca Martarella: Chemical Engineering, Sophomore
  • Anthony Wilson: Electrical Engineering, Senior
Fiji Lights EPICS team with prototype

Fiji Lights EPICS team with prototype

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Bring your ideas to life with EPICS [Video]

Posted by on May 24, 2013 in News and Events | Comments Off

Find out how far you–and your ideas–can go with EPICS.

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Scott Shrake joins Fulton Engineering, will lead EPICS program

Posted by on Dec 11, 2012 in Archive Stories, News and Events | 0 comments

As the new director of Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS), Scott Shrake says that the program offers an incredibly unique opportunity for him—and the students, faculty and staff who are involved.

“When I went through my undergraduate engineering program, the outreach and entrepreneurship component was something that I missed,” he says. “I want to see my ideas to have an impact—that is why I am an engineer.”

ASU is one of more than 20 university partners in the national EPICS program founded at Purdue in 1995. In the award-winning service-learning program, teams of undergraduate students design, build and deploy systems to solve engineering-based problems for not-for-profit organizations such as charities and schools. Teams are finding solutions for critical needs both locally and globally—from access to clean drinking water to reducing food waste and feeding those in need.  To fully implement these solutions, EPICS teams also must become entrepreneurial to obtain the necessary resources.

Shrake says that he has always felt a pull to entrepreneurship. While pursuing his doctoral degree in civil and environmental engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, Shrake tailored his research to the business aspects of engineering, developing methods for evaluating and improving the environmental performance of service industries, especially healthcare and consulting.

Prior to joining ASU, Shrake was a National Science Foundation IGERT Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh where he pursued multiple research interests including sustainable business development, improving the sustainability of healthcare, and biofuel production and use. This work allowed him to collaborate with multiple corporate, governmental and nonprofit organizations including Alcoa, Bayer, Gewalt Hamilton Associates, Inc., University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Kingsley Association.

He sees EPICS as the perfect opportunity to put that expertise, along with his passion for community outreach and development, to work.

“EPICS at ASU has a great foundation. I am excited to have the chance to continue to build the program. The sky is the limit,” he says.

Shrake also brings a passion for teaching. He has mentored high school and undergraduate research groups in the U.S. and in Brazil, where he spent six months as a visiting scholar at the Federal University of Espirito Santo.

“If you had asked me 10-15 years ago what I wanted to be, my secondary answer to being the president of the U.S. was becoming a teacher,” he says. “The structure of EPICS enables me to take teaching a step further and be a mentor.”

Shrake says that one of the keys to success is faculty and staff, and he hopes to increase involvement. “This is a great opportunity for young faculty to increase their outreach efforts and get involved with students who are ready and willing to tackle some of todays biggest problems.”

For students, he sees EPICS as an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up. “Employers love when students take on opportunities like this. It allows students to demonstrate their innovation and creativity, develop a well-rounded skillset, and gain practical hands-on business experience – all while working towards solving global problems. An interdisciplinary background is essential in creating sustainable solutions in todays business environment, and EPICS students will be able to actively develop and refine this background.”

“I would like this program to be the reason that students choose ASU—the pinnacle of what ASU has to offer,” Shrake says.

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Putting technology to work to help fight hunger

Posted by on Jun 14, 2012 in Archive Stories, News and Events | 0 comments

Four members of FlashFood – a team of Arizona State University students and recent graduates – won the U.S. Microsoft Imagine Cup this spring. Next they’ll go to Sydney, Australia, in July, to compete in the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals, the premiere international student technology competition.

The team members recently talked about their project on Channel 12’s “EVB Live” show in Phoenix.

Read more in Full Circle

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33 Buckets excels at international entrepreneurship competition

Posted by on Jun 14, 2012 in Archive Stories, News and Events | 0 comments

A team of ASU engineering students have emerged as award winners in the finals of the international Dell Social Innovation Challenge for student entrepreneurs.

Team 33 Buckets is developing a project designed to provide clean water in communities in rural Bangladesh, where contaminated water is a leading cause of disease and other health problems.

33 Buckets was one of only five teams that made it to the Dell Challenge world finals from among some 1,700 teams that initially entered the competition.

For its performance in the finals, team members will get mentoring from professions over the next year to advance their project and some Dell computer hardware.

Read more in Full Circle

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