Developing Sustainable Solutions for Female Entrepreneurs in a Rural Mexican Community through Academic and Social Partnerships

An engaged group of students and teachers applied principles of human-centered design to create technical solutions for women in a rural region of North-central Mexico. Students from the US created prototypes for cropping systems, and students from a Mexican university designed and constructed improved solar dryers for food preservation to support the women’s entrepreneurial efforts. This project, evolved from an established Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) teaching partnership and the involvement of a community partner (Fundacion Diversa Coahuila), enabled learning in a real-world context.  We will explain how a Partners of the Americas 100,000 Strong in the Americas grant was used to fund travel and give students an opportunity to put their academic knowledge to practical use. We will also share the methodology and tools used throughout this project as they pertain to human-centered design.


Laura Penman (she/her), Associate Professor of Biology, Monroe Community College

Dr. Maria Luisa López Segura (she/her), Professor of Chemistry, Tecnológico Nacional de México-Campus Laguna

Moderated by: Sally Crimmins Villela (she/her), Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs, State University of New York