2012 Midwest Student Conference

DSC00854In April 2012, India Development Service (IDS) and India Development Coalition of America (IDCA) co-sponsored the “Midwest Student Conference on Sustainable Development in India.”  The conference, which was held at DePaul University, featured hands-on projects developed and implemented by students in the U.S. in conjunction with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in India.

The students participating in the conference ranged from undergraduates to Ph. D. candidates attending mid-western universities that included the University of Iowa, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, DePaul University, University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois. Students gathered to present their research to an open forum consisting of fellow presenters, De Paul faculty, IDS and IDCA members, and guests. Most projects were hands-on and covered such topics as public policy, supply chain networking, health care education, cancer prevention, community empowerment, and clean air.

Kimberly Van Meter from the University of Iowa reported a study titled “Salty or Sweet: Exploring the Challenges of Groundwater Salinization.” Whitney Hein from DePaul University presented a project titled “Slum Rehabilitation and Resettlement in India: the Role of Gender and Civic Participation.” Ehsan Noursalehi of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign presented a study titled “Innovative Approach to Bridging a Gap in Existing Health Care Technology Through the Development of Prosthetic Technology for the BoP,” and Vijay Limaye from the University of Wisconsin-Madison presented “Climate Change Impacts on Power Plant Emissions, Air Quality and Health in India.”

DSC00861The students came from a range of disciplines including business, geography, public policy, health, and the social sciences. All presentations were made to all conference attendees, facilitating a creative cross-fertilization of ideas. The result was exciting. Virtually all participants were continually engaged as most of the presentations reflected a spontaneous hands-on involvement and learning that generated a much higher level of excitement and interest than one typically sees at most academic conferences.

Based on the research and participation, the following participants were selected as IDS Scholars.

Winner School Level Topic
Whitney Hein DePaul Graduate Slum rehabilitation and resettlement in India: Role of gender and civic participation.
Todd Newman DePaul Graduate Improving energy and environmental outcomes in rural India using micro-anaerobic digesters.
Dhrooti Vyas U of Chicago Undergraduate Examination of the knowledge, attitude and practices of government sponsored contraceptive methods in Gujarat.
Tim Schumacher U Wisconsin- Whitewater Undergraduate Development of Decision Support Systems for food procurement and processing by NGOs in Andhra Pradesh.
Kevin King U Wisconsin- Madison Undergraduate Cancer awareness: agents of change in Punjab.
Kimberly Van Meter U of Iowa Doctorate Groundwater salinization within a sustainability framework in Haryana.
Audrey Meyer St. Catherine’s Minnesota Graduate Developing a framework to diffuse knowledge of family planning among Indian Muslim women.
Sudeep Gowrishankar U of Illinois – Urbana Champaign Graduate Development of bottom up marketplace solutions for coastal subsistence fishermen in southern India.

Our second “Midwest Student Conference on Sustainable Development in India” is scheduled for Saturday, April 20, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at DePaul University, 14 E. Jackson, 16th Floor, Chicago, IL  60604.

If you would like your university to participate please contact Ron Fernandes, at RFERNAN7@depaul.edu.