Viterbi launches refugee virtual exchange program

first_imgAshwin Bhumbla already knows that he wants to change the world.Viterbi students participated in a Skype conference call Friday where they were able to speak to eight refugees from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Lebanon and Syria now living in Europe. Natalie Bettendorf | Daily TrojanIn his engineering diplomacy class last semester, which was taught by USC Viterbi School of Engineering professor Najmedin Meshkati last semester, Bhumbla said that one particular idea stuck with him: the idea of being a global engineer rather than a cubicle engineer.“Of course, working at Google and Apple … It’s a dream,” said Bhumbla, a freshman majoring in industrial and systems engineering. “You’re pushing your technology, you’re making it, but then you start thinking, what’s it all for and who is it all for? … What’s the point if not everybody can have access to the old technology, the old improvements?”Being in Meshkati’s class and getting involved in USC’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders encouraged Bhumbla to attend an event hosted by Viterbi in Ronald Tutor Hall Friday morning. At the event, Meshkati and Daniel Druhora, a senior digital content producer at the Viterbi Communications and Marketing group, hosted a Skype conference with eight refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Lebanon who are all currently living in various countries in Europe.A dozen people were in attendance, including students, faculty and alumni. The conference call lasted about two hours, with refugees recounting their experiences in camps and answering questions from USC participants about what kinds of innovations would help increase the safety and effectiveness of these camps.“The purpose of this conference call is to start dialogue between USC students, faculty and potential refugees,” Meshkati said in the email invitation for the event. “This would provide a great opportunity for us to learn more about (educated) young refugee circumstances who are either sitting ‘idle’ in refugee camps or in ‘limbo’ waiting for to be processed and how we can better frame this program for both USC and refugee students.”Druhora explained that this conference was an important step for designing a class that could be launched as early as Fall 2018. The class will have 12 USC students and 12 refugee students working together to solve a problem involved in the refugee crisis with an engineering focus.“They can split up into teams, they can identify the problem and then start to work on researching, interviewing, doing the whole process,” Druhora said. “That would be the first semester. The second semester, they would start to work on the problem, they start the prototype, they start to design things … Then it would all culminate in a meeting. So like you saw today, they’re meeting them virtually. [But] at the end of the program, they would meet them in-person.”Kayla Soren, a sophomore majoring in international relations and environmental studies, also called in for the Skype conference. Even though she is currently in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences program in Washington, D.C., she has been working with Meshkati and Druhora to launch a refugee virtual exchange project at USC. She has been helping them develop a student-driven, research-based curriculum that would encourage students to not only think about global issues, but also become active in creating necessary change.“I just felt this intense passion and I will do anything it takes to make this a success,” Soren said. “It really frustrates me, especially seeing today, like doesn’t something like this already exist? Why aren’t universities doing anything?”After the event, Bhumbla said that he was particularly struck when one refugee said that no one chooses to be a refugee.“When you start thinking about ‘Why am I at this school? What am I learning engineering for?’ the answer, I think, no matter what you’re learning, is to help people,” Bhumbla said.last_img read more

‘Slow-play’ approach to Walker Buehler’s spring motivated by more than caution

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error GLENDALE, Ariz. — In Walker Buehler’s own words – nobody freak out.But with two weeks to go until Opening Day, the Dodgers finally admitted that their “slow-play” approach to Buehler’s spring work was motivated by more than just caution with a 24-year-old whose innings spiked last season.Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Wednesday that Buehler “just wasn’t feeling right” at the start of camp – the same phrase he used earlier this spring when Clayton Kershaw’s throwing program was put on hold for a week. Kershaw received treatment and anti-inflammatory medication for his pitching shoulder before resuming his throwing program recently.“It was just kind of hangover stuff from last year,” Buehler said when asked to explain what “not feeling right” meant for him. “You don’t really want to ramp things up until you’re feeling right. Just kind of normal stuff, nothing super specific. “Are we being more conservative right now? Probably – with what we’re doing and how we handle it? Yeah, probably.”Buehler said he felt the “hangover stuff” off and on from the time he started his throwing program at home in Kentucky in the weeks before spring training.“It’s just kind of from the beginning of the throwing progam, not feeling 100 percent with my whole body,” he said.“Just my arm didn’t feel like it was moving the way I wanted it to. It’s not a pain thing really, more of something doesn’t move perfectly and the way I kind of work I need everything to work correctly. … It’s something that kind of comes and goes. Some days you feel great and some days you don’t. That’s baseball. But I wasn’t feeling good often enough. Nothing scary, nothing alarming.”SEAGER DEFENSESeager is scheduled to play three innings at shortstop in a minor-league game Thursday. This represents the first time Seager has taken the field on defense in a game since last May – and likely the final step in his recovery from hip and elbow surgeries before he is cleared to play in Cactus League games.ALSOKershaw is scheduled to throw another bullpen session during Thursday’s workout. It will be his second time throwing off a mound since resuming his throwing program. …Outfielder Alex Verdugo played in a minor-league game Wednesday, getting four at-bats.center_img “But if you’re not 100 percent it’s kind of tough to try and ramp up and get going. So we kind of reset ourselves and it kind of worked out in my favor.”Buehler threw to hitters in a live batting practice session for the first time Wednesday, throwing 33 pitches in two simulated innings to Corey Seager, Paulo Orlando and Ezequiel Carrera. Roberts said the next step for Buehler will be to pitch in a Cactus League game Monday or Tuesday for two innings — meaning his spring debut would come 10 days (or less) before the season starts.“I think the timing is a little difficult but I fully plan to be able to pitch and be a normal starting pitcher opening week. That’s our goal and that’s my goal,” Buehler said. “If it doesn’t happen, if it’s four innings, that’s fine. If it’s five, if it’s six – I think it’s all a matter of how we respond. That’ll be it.”Roberts acknowledged Monday that both Kershaw and Buehler could open the season in the rotation even if they are only built up enough to pitch four or five innings in their first starts. Right-hander Ross Stripling and left-handers Julio Urias and Caleb Ferguson are all building up to be either starters or, potentially, multi-inning relievers who could follow Kershaw or Buehler in a “piggy-back” situation.“If all goes well, will he be ready for the season to start? Yes. But that’s relative to how much he’s built up,” Roberts said of Buehler specifically.last_img read more