Shubhra Gangopadhyay is the one of the few female faculty at MU’s Center for Micro/Nano Systems and Nanotechnology. She’s also the one in charge of developing the center. In the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, of which Gangopadhyay is the LaPierre Endowed Chair Professor, she is one of three women. “There is a shortage of female scientists and female professors, in general,” Gangopadhyay says. “And in engineering, it is really not good.”
As part of their fellowship at MU, the volunteers need to come up with a project that benefits the local community. Toward that end they have developed a class to help globalize students, and are working on organizing a service-learning trip. “The idea is to connect what we are doing in class with the volunteer work they are doing in order to see the reasons people volunteer and how a community looks at a problem and pools their resources to solve it,” Craver says.
Gangopadhyay’s future plans include helping to establish a Nanotech Consortium, to be headquartered in Columbia, which will work closely with large corporations, such as Boeing, to develop new technology.
After two years of volunteering in a foreign community, the returned Peace Corps Fellows now turn their attention to a service project in the local community. Convening to discuss their vision and mission, the group gathered ideas about possible community service projects. “And one of the things we agreed upon was that we were interested in food—not a surprise for Peace Corps folks,” Craig Hutton said.
After many months of meeting with key organizations in Columbia, the Peace Corps Fellows identified food security as the issue to be addressed. Partnering with Sustainable Farms and Communities (SFC), a local nongovernmental organization, they plan to implement a research project in order to assess food security in Columbia. The group has been working with key community leaders –from non-governmental organizations and churches to businesses and city government—to design a survey to assess food security. When the survey is finished, it will be used by SFC to apply for a grant to build a pavilion on the site of the Columbia Farmer’s Market, which will function as a community center hosting health, cooking, and nutrition classes.