Engineers and students have often sought a textbook solution to global development challenges. Occasionally, such books are offered, but unfortunately, global development is uncertain, complex, and evolving. Often the dogma of "right" and "wrong" approaches is impervious to evidence and context, and instead reflects institutional incentives and motives.

Engineers are solutions-oriented people. They enjoy the opportunity to identify a product or need, and design appropriate technical solutions. This model can be effective in high-income regions where the engineering profession is complemented by: communities with strong political capital and tax bases leveraged to provide essential government services such as water, sanitation, electricity, and roads; an enforced regulatory environment to maintain the quality and safety of these services; and business and consumer markets to purchase products and services. Such necessary social supports are often invisible to the engineer, whose education does not typically include crash courses in economics or policy. As a result, engineers are poorly equipped to address or even recognize the existence of structural gaps to providing public and private services in lower income settings.

The Mortenson Center seeks to examine the role and ultimately the impact of engineers in global development. Together, engineers can work alongside countries, communities and other professionals to identify and dismantle the underlying causes of persistent global poverty, and elevate all people, and their environment, as Global Engineers. 

We are looking for students who:

  • ​Want more from their education than technical skills.
  • Want to be part of building a community in which students work together and support each other as well-rounded individuals.
  • Care more about having real global impact than meeting minimum requirements.
  • Want to work alongside countries, communities and other professionals to identify and dismantle the underlying causes of persistent global poverty, and elevate all people and their environment as Global Engineers.
  • Are interested in becoming culturally and linguistically fluent.

A lot of students standing in front of a structure in the mountains.