UTSA's EPICS Program Invests in Students Professionally While Giving Back to Its Community

The Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program will unveil a 4D Helicopter Immersion exhibit in the summer to highlight the impacts of climate change.


The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is demonstrating its commitment to the community through a recently launched educational experience with The DoSeum, San Antonio's premier children's museum.

UTSA's Engineering Projects in Community Service, or EPICS, is a service-learning design program where student teams work with local and global community entities to address human, community, and environmental needs.

EPICS' latest project involves the development of a flying simulator to help demonstrate the impacts associated with climate change. The 4D Helicopter Immersion exhibit under development is scheduled to open in the summer as part of the museum's "Earth Matters" exhibit for the Summer of Sustainability Series. It will allow DoSeum guests to take simulated flights to vast regions to gauge and observe the impacts of climate change.

Immersive Learning Tools Engage Youth

A recent national poll found that about 80% of parents in the U.S. support the idea of children learning about climate change and its impact on our future.

In reality, however, teaching topics related to climate change aren't consistently included in the school curriculum. For parents and educators, finding ways to discuss the sometimes scary issues surrounding climate change can be done by explaining the science, opening the door to exploring the more complicated issues surrounding it.

Through the 4D Helicopter Immersion exhibit, youth can actually see the impacts of climate change in various places globally.

"When discussing this project with The DoSeum, they asked us if we could combine all of the elements, so it became a helicopter simulation," Vianney Aguilera, 2021 alumna with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, told UTSA Today. "So, the children will get to choose which part of the world they'd like to visit. Let's say it's the Arctic. The exhibit will simulate the helicopter taking off and then landing in the Arctic, where they will see the impact of climate change."

EPICS Bridges Community Service With Career Development

Educating youth may prove critical as environmental careers are among the most in-demand, and the jobs outlook for those looking to help tackle climate change has never been stronger. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the employment of environmental scientists and specialists will grow 8% from 2020 through 2030, as fast as the average for all occupations.

Additionally, as we face the great talent recession, the demand for skilled engineers is at an all-time high. The EPICS program at UTSA spotlights the talent pool existing within the city and opens the door to greater opportunities for students.

"EPICS is a wonderful program that facilitates truly remarkable projects," JoAnn Browning, dean of Klesse College, told UTSA Today. "It's a real win-win as our students work with industry partners from the ideation phase, throughout design and fabrication, and ultimately deliver impactful results that benefit the community. UTSA is committed to creating rigorous and rewarding experiential learning opportunities that chart clear pathways for students from the classroom to a career."


Looking for more information?

Visit The DoSeum's website for updates and view the original article from UTSA Today.