Engineering social entrepreneurship program introduced to Vietnam

Representatives of ASU’s premier social entrepreneur program, Engineering Projects in Community Service, recently visited Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, and Hanoi to present one-day workshops focused on project-based learning combined with service learning and entrepreneurial mindset.

The award-winning program, known as EPICS for short, tasks student teams to design, build and deploy systems to solve engineering-based problems for charities, schools and other not-for-profit organizations. Representatives Josh Loughman and Hope Parker taught more than 90 participants about the EPICS curriculum, the difference and similarities between EPICS and project-based learning, options for implementing EPICS at their university, how to best utilize Maker Spaces and time to test the process by building a prototype around stakeholder needs.


During the stakeholder design process faculty were asked to design packaging for an emergency
kit that could withstand a hurricane and could be used by youth in an orphanage.

During the stakeholder design process faculty were asked to design packaging for an emergency kit that could withstand a hurricane and could be used by youth in an orphanage. Faculty were not given all the criteria upfront and had to ask the stakeholders questions to learn more about the problem and to earn bonus building materials. After much laughter and several iterations, faculty came up with numerous innovative ideas ranging from the simple and clean to the high-tech. It was a great reminder to everyone of the joy and innovation that comes when doing hands-on work for a purpose.

Another major outcome of the visit is the start of a pilot program for Global EPICS. Global EPICS is a framework for expanding EPICS programs around the world and utilizing that expanded network to develop collaborative projects. Danang University of Science and Technology and ASU will field test this concept in the coming year with projects from Vietnam and the United States being solved by teams composed of students from both institutions. The Global EPICS program will expand the capabilities of serving the community, enhance the experience of students from host institutions, and further embed the role that universities have in their local and global communities.              


Twelve of the EPICS Workshop participants in Hanoi receive certificates for their successful completion
of the workshop. Faculty in the workshops learned options for implementing EPICS at their
university and how to utilize the Maker Spaces in each of their cities.

In addition to the workshops and launching Global EPICS, the ASU EPICS team also met with the Ministry of Education and Training’s Secondary Education Department, Hanoi People’s Committee, the National Institute for Science and Technology Policy and the Ministry of Science and Technology to discuss integrating STEM education into the K-12 curriculum. In the short term, the ASU K12 Engineering Education and Outreach team will be working with Professors Thu Nguyen from Danang University of Science and Technology and Hoi Nguyen from the University of Danang to provide lessons that can be implemented for K-12 students at Fablab Danang. The team is very excited to work with Thu and Hoi and to see how they can best support them in the amazing work they are doing for the community and K12 students.

The ASU EPICS team is looking forward to seeing faculty in Vietnam include EPICS into their classrooms. Additional materials, including the information presented at the one day introduction workshops, can be found here. More details about the Makerspaces in Ho Chi Minh City and Danang are referenced below.  From the EPICS @ASU team, thank you all for attending!

Ho Chi Minh City
The space at SHTP is implementing its operation plan and providing trainings on equipment to their staff. The space will be open to faculty, students and the maker community starting mid-September. Please contact Hoang The Ban at for additional information.

Danang Makerspace
The Maker Innovation Space in Danang held its grand opening on August 11, 2017. The space is available for students and faculty from local universities to utilize along with the maker community per request. For more information please contact Hoi Nguyen at

Both spaces have free access to faculty and students. Students can purchase materials at the space or bring their own.