Discovery Day 2016 | Benedictine College

Annual Discovery Day Set for April 13

Engineers Without Borders Founder to Keynote Academic Event

Published: Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., will host its 21st annual Discovery Day on Wednesday, April 13, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

This year it will feature over 80 student presentations along with a keynote address from the founder of Engineers Without Borders-USA, Dr. Bernard Amadei, who was chosen as part of Benedictine College’s Century of Science celebration. His keynote address, “Engineering for Sustainable Human Development,” is set for 1:00 p.m. that day in O’Malley-McAllister Auditorium inside the St. John Paul II Student Center. All events and presentations are free and open to the public.

Each year, Benedictine College cancels its classes and meetings to allow for students and faculty to attend Discovery Day, a day of learning focused on student projects that have been researched outside of the classroom. This year, projects include a look at illuminated manuscripts, concrete canoe design, an analysis of the Iowa Caucuses, a study of vertebrate diversity in the Benedictine Bottoms, and a 24-hour theater festival.  

The keynote speaker, Amadei, is a professor of civil engineering at the University of Colorado – Boulder. A native of Roubaix, France, he earned a Diploma Engineer in 1977 from the School of Applied Geology and Mining Engineering (Ecole Supérieure de Géologie Appliquée et de Prospection Minière) in Nancy, France. Following a year of service in the French Army, he began his graduate studies. He earned a Master of Science from the University of Toronto in 1979 and was awarded a doctorate (PhD) in civil engineering in 1982 from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a recipient of the Hoover Medal. In 2009, he was recognized with an Award of Excellence from Engineering News-Record. In 2012, Dr. Amadei was appointed as a Science Envoy by the U.S. Department of State.

In 2000, Amadei took a group of eight engineering students to Belize to build a water pump for the village of San Pablo. The pump was powered by a local waterfall and provided clean water to the village. The simple, sustainable and low-cost solution was the first Engineers Without Borders-USA (EWB-USA) project.

This model of engineering students partnering with developing communities resonated in the engineering and university communities and EWB-USA chapters began expanding across the United States. Since its incorporation in 2002, EWB-USA has grown from a handful of passionate individuals to an organization of more than 15,900 members. Through programs similar to the first program in Belize, EWB-USA members have impacted more than 2.5 million lives around the world.

More than 2200 students have participated in Benedictine’s Discovery Day projects since its inception in 1996. In that time, most faculty members and academic departments have taken an active role in sponsoring student projects.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.