ExSJ Projects

The ExSJ defines a new approach for engineering and community partnerships. Through the mutual exchange of expertise, technical know-how is combined with contextual, cultural and historical knowledge of the community to identify real needs. Community defined ‘problem briefs’ can then be turned into actionable student assignments, design projects, research theses or extracurricular pro bono engineering projects that are supported by local professionals.

Photograph of a group of nine people on the left, facing one person on the right. A green hill is visible in the background, with a large pile of trash in front of it.

Conceptualization Projects and Feasibility Assessments

  • ENGR 103 User-Centered Design class collaboration with the Blind Community Center of San Diego, San Diego Center for the Blind, and the Braille Institute - San Diego. Course collaborations were captured by article and video.
  • THEA 201 Creative Minds course collaboration, working with USD students and pregnant and parenting teens from Twain High School in an interdisciplinary course that combines ways of thinking from theatre, mathematics and engineering, to create tools or manipulatives that can be used by young children to facilitate mathematical learning. Supported through the Impact Linda Vista Initiative.
  • Nelson Sloan Quarry Restoration in partnership with TRNERR, California State Parks and DUDEK
    • Students in the Capstone Design course created an interactive Excel-based model to be used to explore different scenarios for sourcing the sediment from the various sediment basins in the Tijuana River Valley, to restore a deactivated quarry to its natural environment. 

Implementation Projects

  • Community-based waste upcycling businesses in partnership with Waste for Life:
    • Engineering Community Apprenticeship class (ENGR 351): working with Viejas Band of the Kumeyaay Nation STEAM afterschool program, Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR) and Advancing Students Forward to conduct feasibility studies.
    • Capstone Design course:  team of students working on defining the machine infrastructure and operational procedures for implementation in a refugee community in Los Laureles Canyon, located in Tijuana, Mexico.
  • Tobago Wind Turbine project in partnership with Primo Energy:
    • Independent Research courses with students exploring the use of alternative energy (especially wind and solar) to power tasks such as irrigation and security lights on small farms.
  • Mobile STEAM Collaboratory (MSC): 
    • Students in the Capstone Design course worked to transform a storage trailer into a MSC that will allow for the display and safe transportation of various manipulatives, tools, equipment, software and materials to community locations, where these items can in-turn be temporarily set up and used to facilitate collaborative work between community partners and USD students, faculty & staff.
  • ExSJ web/mobile application: 
    • Students in the Capstone Design course created an online interface for the ExSJ website that allows any community member to enter information related to a proposed project idea or community need.

Get involved by submitting a Community Project Request and/or volunteer your professional services.