February 16, 2022
The Engineering for Change (E4C) Fellowship is a distinct workforce development program in engineering for global development serving to activate and empower engineering students and early-career engineers worldwide to solve local and global challenges. Attaining a fellowship is competitive and students apply to participate.
The fellowship helps participants develop soft skills and connect with international mentors and peers globally. It also offers leadership development opportunities to prepare an emergent generation of technical professionals to empower them to deliver solutions that achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. E4C’s fellows deepen their understanding of engineering for global development through targeted research, analysis and engagement with the E4C community of experts.
Mariela Machado is the senior program manager for E4C in coordination with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). We spoke to Mariela to learn about this program.
Digital Engineering: Can you provide an overview of the E4C Fellowship, how it came to be and the intent of the program? Who will be participating or who have participated? How many participants have you had or are you expecting? Any demographics of participants?
Mariela Machado: The Engineering for Change (E4C) Fellowship is a workforce development program at the intersection of engineering and global development, serving to activate and empower early-career engineers and technical professionals worldwide to solve local and global challenges.
Since 2014, we have provided fellows the opportunity to support organizations on research projects, offering them first-hand experience in addressing these challenges. In total, we have awarded 186 fellowships to exceptional early-career engineers, architects and scientists from over 40 countries across all inhabited continents, supporting over 70 projects and organization worldwide.
As a convener of academic, nonprofits, on-the-ground organizations, private sector and multilateral agencies, E4C draws on diverse perspectives to identify research priorities and understand multisectoral and cross-functional topics.
DE: Can you tell us about some of the designs that are part of the event and how they came to be?
Machado: The outcomes of the fellows’ work are the impact projects. Our impact projects are holistically integrated with the E4C Fellowship program that ensure unique insights and training of diverse, multisectoral and exceptional technical talent worldwide. The program is 100% virtual and provides structured online engagement and incentives to achieve the research objectives determined together with our partners.
To date we have completed 70-plus projects with partners across the world. In 2021, we worked on 36 projects ranging from academia, to nonprofits, to multilaterals, private sector and government agencies.
DE: Does the E4C Fellowship have a particular stance on adopting an innovation that is linked to the program? What drove them to sponsor the event and coordinate it?
Machado: The Autodesk Foundation is one of our biggest supporters. As part of their investment in nonprofits and startups scaling solutions across energy and materials, health and resilience, and work and prosperity, the Autodesk Foundation sponsors fellowships in collaboration with the E4C Fellowship program.
In 2021, they matched 24 fellows with nonprofits and startups across the Autodesk Foundation portfolio and Autodesk’s Technology Impact Program. Fellows provided technical support ranging from the development and improvement of products, advancement of workflows, and targeted research. These savvy early-career designers and engineers from all over the world drew on their experience and expertise with Autodesk technology to provide tangible impact.