St. Thomas to Celebrate 10th Anniversary of Its Peace Engineering Program May 9

Peace Engineering, a program of the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering, will celebrate its 10th anniversary Thursday, May 9, in the Great Room (Room 100) of McNeely Hall on the university’s St. Paul campus.

Camille George

Dr. Camille George poses next to the Ultralight Mod Pod, a breadfruit drier she co-designed last year. (Photo by Mike Ekern '02)

The event, open to members of the St. Thomas community, begins with a 4:30 p.m. reception. The program runs from 5 to 6 p.m. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP here.

Highlight of the celebration is the premiere of the documentary “Field to Fork,” a film is about Dr. Camille George’s work to engineer the post-harvest processing of breadfruit in Haiti.

“My five-year goal is to feed 100,000 Haitian school kids a day,” she said.

In 2003, George, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, led student-teams from the School of Engineering, French Department and Communication and Journalism Department to St. Vincent and collaborated on preliminary designs for shredding and drying breadfruit.

Later, another team of students studied the entire process of using breadfruit, from harvesting to shredding to drying to grinding it into flour. And in 2012, the School of Engineering, along with Minnesota-based nonprofit Compatible Technology International, held a “Peace Engineering” contest to build and deliver a breadfruit-drying device to the Breadfruit Institute, a subdivision of the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Kauai, Hawaii.

Breadfruit is an underutilized staple crop long recognized for its potential to provide food security in tropical regions. The fruit, named for its bread-like fragrance, is high in carbohydrates and contains many minerals and vitamins. A significant challenge in taking advantage of this food source, however, is its short shelf life once picked.

In addition to the breadfruit project, George and the Peace Engineering program have worked on a low-power cooling system, solar-powered water-pasteurization system and a method to produce shea butter more efficiently.

A goal of each project is to use engineering to help empower impoverished women and enabled them to profit from their countries’ natural resources.

The May 9 event also celebrates the collaboration of the St. Thomas School of Engineering with the Fetzer Institute, Compatible Technology International, Satag Inc. and the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church.

More information can be found at this Peace Engineering website and in this article, “Dr. Camille George Engineers the Future of Breadfruit.”