Action Research Open House

By: Deborah Lohse, Assistant Director, Media Relations for Santa Clara University

Inventing portable solar-powered coolers to store nutritious dairy products in remote communities off the electric grid in rural Mexico. Investigating how best to identify tuberculosis cases in Southeast Asia through the use of data science. Using mobile-mapping technology and marketing to recruit more students and tutors to a successful program for disadvantaged youth in South Africa.

These projects are among nearly 100 that were showcased at Santa Clara University’s “Research with a Mission” Expo, which demonstrated the ingenuity and exceptional work of some of its top students, whose efforts are driven by the university’s mission to to foster a more just, humane, and sustainable world.

The Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship partnered with the University Honors Program to feature work from students in the Miller Center’s Global Social Benefit Fellowship program, as well as from the University Honors program and from Wim & Maria Roelandts Grant recipients.

Additional projects presented include:

  • Mobile apps and other methods of tracking inventory, mobile payments, sales, customer service queries, and daily business tips for a company that manufactures sanitary napkins to keep girls from missing school every month.
  • A drone system for “last mile” delivery of AIDS medicines in Zambia.
  • Organic solar cells to produce clean, cheap and flexible alternatives to existing solar technologies.

The Global Social Benefit Fellowship provides a comprehensive program of mentored, field-based study and action research for juniors at SCU. Fellows work on the ground in the developing world within the Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) worldwide network of social entrepreneurs. The Wim and Maria Roelandts Grant funds faculty and student research projects that use science and technology for social benefit, locally and globally. The University Honors Program offers learning opportunities in small, seminar-style classes; seniors conduct a research project with faculty members. 

“Social entrepreneurship is a popular subject in universities across America,” said Keith Warner OFM, director of Education and Action Research at the Miller Center. “At Santa Clara University, we offer undergraduates the opportunity to conduct ‘action research’ – working on campus and in the developing world with GSBI social enterprises to create practical research and products that deliver a positive impact. The Miller Center is investing in the full entrepreneurial potential of its students through the Fellowship and Roelandts Grant programs.”