Thanks in part to the efforts of Dr. M. Pinar Mengüç, students and business people in Ecuador have seen the possibilities created by advances in nanoscale science and engineering.
Mengüç, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Nanoscale Engineering Certificate Program at the University of Kentucky, and Professor Cecilia Paredes were the organizers of a major international nanotechnology forum held recently at ESPOL (Escuela Superior Politecnica Del Litoral), a leading institution of higher education in Ecuador. Paredes is assistant dean at ESPOL. The two-day event, Foro Internacional de Nanotecnologia, focused on establishing a community of educators, students, entrepreneurs, business leaders and other professionals that would develop and work on new and advanced concepts of nanoscale engineering.
ESPOL Rector Moses Tacle delivered opening remarks for the Forum, which provided information to a general audience about scientific and technological advances in nanoscale engineering, and demonstrated to students the value of nanoscale studies. Mengüç delivered a presentation on Evolution in Engineering Education and Nanotechnology.
The event received widespread attention in Ecuador. Organizers, including Mengüç, were interviewed for television programs and newspapers.
For Mengüç, the forum was also the latest highlight in a productive relationship with ESPOL that began when he served as advisor to a UK Ph.D. student from Ecuador. ESPOL named him an honorary professor in 2006 after he worked with the institution to introduce and establish nanotechnology education and research programs.
“We especially wanted to increase excitement among undergraduate and high school students about moving in a new direction in their studies,” he said. “I believe we accomplished that.”
About 150 high school students and teachers, in addition to professors from several universities, participated in the forum. The potential of nanoscience in the medical field was of particular interest to the students, Mengüç said.
In addition to Mengüç, invited guests included Dr. Mehmet Toner, a professor of biomedical engineering at the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital; Dr. Pedro Prieto, director of the Center for Excellence of New Materials in Colombia; Dr. Robert W. Cohn, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Louisville; and Pedro Montalvo Carrera, a prominent researcher and consultant to leading social and public policy organizations ın Ecuador.