E4C provides training opportunities for engineering students engaged in global development through Internships and Fellowships. Sponsored by mission aligned organizations, E4C’s Research Fellows deepen their understanding of development engineering through research, analysis and engagement with the E4C community while advancing knowledge resources for designers, manufacturers and implementers of essential technologies.
Fellows investigate products presented in the E4C Solutions Library via desk and field research and synthesize findings for peer-review (learn more here). Fellow recruitment starts at the beginning of the year and Fellows are selected based on their academic performance, professional and Development Engineering experience, sector of specialization and references. Our aim is that the Research Fellowship will open opportunities and prepare future generations of engineering professionals committed to the delivery of sustainable solutions.
Interested in sponsoring an E4C Research Fellow? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background Helen is graduating in May with a BS of Mechanical Engineering from Boston University. She has been doing research in global health and medical devices for two years. Through this research she has worked and studied in Zanzibar, Tanzania and Beirut Lebanon.
What motivated you to pursue engineering for global development? I have always enjoyed science and math, so I thought engineering would be a good choice for my degree. During my first two years of undergrad, I took two public health courses and discovered my passion for global health. I chose to pursue this by joining BU's Partnership for Global Health Technology. I am very glad I did because this field is something I truly care about and it is what I plan to continue working in for the rest of my career.
How do you see this fellowship factoring into your professional goals? Something I have noticed is that there is often a disconnect between different fields, and I think this is true of engineering and public health. I want to work toward applying the many amazing technologies that have been and are being developed to some of our most pressing public health problems. This fellowship will help me gain a deeper understanding of the field, thus helping me achieve this goal.
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Background Marina is a renewable energies engineer with a recently finished Master in Strategies and Technologies for Development at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in Spain. For her university thesis, she conducted a technical assessment of the energy efficiency of improved biomass stoves and measurement and evaluation of indoor air quality in three rural communities in Nicaragua. Since then, she has worked designing technical solutions for international organizations, and she is an associate engineer at Colectivo Zompopo, an NGO that improves the quality of living for low-income families in Nicaragua. She is passionate about transferring her academic knowledge to address the energy needs of underserved communities, and to do so with a holistic and integrated vision and sensitivity toward social and gender matters.
What motivated you to pursue engineering for global development? The persistence of multiple forms of poverty, increasing inequality and the degradation of the environment are good proofs of the interrelated world we live in and important challenges for global development. Early in my career and as an engineer, I always felt threatened by the feeling that the chances to get involved in development projects were quite limited. Fortunately, I was responsible for field work planning and implementation for my university thesis, which was framed in the protection of energy access in Nicaragua. As I have always had an interest in social and gender matters, I took pleasure in supporting rural women in technological change and involving them in the assessment by sharing knowledge, concerns and results. It was a greatly rewarding experience on a personal level and very representative that global development requires specialized professionals, capable of working in complex environments with interdisciplinary teams and competent to prove the positive impact of the intervention. That is why I decided to enroll in the Technologies for Development Master at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. I have decided to learn and apply my academic training where it is most needed so as to make this world more sustainable, resilient and inclusive.
How do you see this fellowship factoring into your professional goals? During my fellowship, I expect to strengthen and develop my knowledge on success cases and ongoing trends that are driving development through technology and engineering, and more specifically, learn updates about technologies currently used in field for the energy for development sector. I would like to effectively contribute with my training and the holistic vision the experiences in field have given me. Due to the organization's remarkable position in the know-how and strategic field, this is a unique opportunity for me to connect with professionals concerned about and working in the global development sector. I am sure I will learn from them all about emerging trends to properly address needs through sustainable and impactful solutions and progressively consolidate my career as a energy for development specialist.
Strathmore University Energy Research Center
Background Ignatius is a Renewable Energy Researcher at the Strathmore University Energy Research Center (SERC). He graduated as an Electrical and Electronic Engineer from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), in Kenya. He is an active member of the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). As a student, he took part in many energy audits for different companies, and this developed his passion for the energy sector. He has worked in projects such as the study of the Performance of Solar PV plants in Kenya, Testing the Performance of Solar Home Systems, Solar Thermal Desalination Plants, Smart Metering in Kenya and Small Hydro Plants in Kenya at SERC.
What motivated you to pursue engineering for global development? From past experiences in the projects that I have been involved in, both while in Campus and while in industry I realized that there are a large number of people who still lack basic amenities like access to electricity, water and roads. These are problems that can be solved using engineering skills. As an engineer, I was challenged and realized then that engineering for global development is my life long vocation.
How do you see this fellowship factoring into your professional goals? During the fellowship, I will learn about the problems that exist in the world and the solutions to these problems that exist. I will have a chance to test the performance of some of these products at the laboratory we have at SERC, and add to the E4C Solutions Library. I will connect to a new network of other fellows and experts, from whom we will share knowledge, views and ideas and definitely grow professionaly.
Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá
Background Carolina is from Tegucigalpa, Honduras and is currently completing her bachelors degree in Energy and Environmental Engineering at Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá. She is a rural communities development enthusiast and believes that having access to an electric power supply system also serves as a critical catalyst for socio-economic growth. Her research interests are both the energy-ICT nexus and the energy-agriculture nexus.
What motivated you to pursue engineering for global development? I´ve been called an immigrant since I can recall and my life experience so far has let me have the opportunity to live in both rural and urban areas. These experiences have motivated me to challenge social injustice, class difference, and cultural barriers for which I have decided to dedicate my life to work towards a culture that respects diversity and is inclusive in every way possible. As an engineer, I would like to have the opportunity to combine my skills with those of other experts to work towards a common goal. That is, bringing a technical solution to people in need.
How do you see this fellowship factoring into your professional goals? Having the opportunity of working with E4C would provide me with research skills and global development project management exposure, which would help launch me towards achieving my goal of developing technology and studying its impact in rural communities. The way I see it, Engineering for Change presents itself as a platform for development to those who for social or geographical reasons have not been able to eliminate the barriers that separate them from the developed communities. Contributing to E4C’s mission of accelerating the development of impactul solutions would help me visualize how to implement these solutions in Central America.
KOKO Networks | Kenya
Background Theodore is from Nairobi, Kenya. He just completed his undergraduate degree in Mechatronic Engineering. He has a passion for providing grass-roots technological innovations geared towards community development. He currently works for a start-up, KOKO networks, which aims to provide an affordable smart commerce platform in African countries. He is also working with a team on a device that will help reduce the high number of maternal-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.
What motivated you to pursue engineering for global development? During my internship period at a Maker space, I learnt about the Maker Movement. This is basically providing local solutions to local problems using locally available resources. This has been one of my greatest motivations since I was able to see that I can use the little knowledge, resources, skills and experiences I have gained thus far to come up with adequate solutions to most of the problems facing the society. I do not have to re-invent the wheel; all I have to do most of the time is figure out what’s the missing piece in the puzzle and find one that fits. I therefore decided to apply this principle in helping develop the society while using the engineering experiences I gain on my way.
How do you see this fellowship factoring into your professional goals? I do believe that the E4C fellowship will offer me the right environment to build on my experience as a young graduate engineer. I also look forward to meeting and working with a community of like-minded individuals who are ready to impact the world with their creative ideas and decision-making skills. Hopefully we will be able to work together and learn from each other, not only during the fellowship period but also on future engineering projects. In short, I think there will be significant professional growth career wise and personal growth as well.
ITT Corporation India Pvt. Ltd.
Background Harsh Vyas is from Vadodara, Gujarat, India. He graduated as a Mechanical Engineer and is currently working as a product design engineer at ITT Corporation India Pvt. Ltd. He is a member of the ASME India Group leadership team. As an early career engineer he has worked with three industrial sectors : Energy, Agriculture and Industrial Process (Pump Industry).In the past he has worked as a part of global volunteering team for one of the online UN Volunteer program (For NGO NKA FOUNDATION) for design and development of a low tech wind mill to mechanize a rural water well in Tanzania.
What motivated you to pursue engineering for global development? I always believe that the best form of service is when you can use the available resources and knowledge for helping others to improving their standard of living. Sharing brings happiness and it moves the community forward. I have worked with local NGO for sharing basic needs of food, clothes and education for the underprivileged. After that I thought why can’t we use technical knowledge/technology for global development? and that was the moment which motivated me to go forward and pursue engineering for global development.
How do you see this fellowship factoring into your professional goals? This fellowship is a platform where experts work for common goal of contributing for sustainable development. It will help to make connections with like-minded fellows/experts and learn from their valuable experiences. As members are from various diversified background and countries, this will give idea of real world situations around the globe and will help to provide best optimized solutions as per requirement. This fellowship would provide me a stepping stone to contribute my knowledge, skills & abilities for the society and global development.
University of Colorado, Boulder
Background Anna is an environmental engineer in the water and sanitation sector for international development. She is currently pursuing a MS in Environmental Engineering and Engineering for Developing Communities with a WASH focus at the University of Colorado. She has volunteered extensively with Engineers Without Borders in Ghana, worked for a circular economy and IOT startup called Citizengage in Bangalore, and the water research NGO Caminos de Agua in Guanajuato, México on biochar water filtration. Next, she is headed to Botswana for four weeks for the International Development Design Summit.
What motivated you to pursue engineering for global development? I am pursuing engineering for global development because I believe each person has an ethical imperative to use their skills to make a difference and help those in need. I think in the past, passion and good will were considered enough, but I think with true-self reflection on what you personally can offer comes greater responsibility and capacity to help. And the aid industry desperately needs technical knowledge and an understanding of the solvable environmental challenges that are the main causes of global poverty, disease, and starvation.
How do you see this fellowship factoring into your professional goals? I want my work this summer to contribute to a conversation about the sustainability of water projects built and distributed by NGOs and agencies, as well as provide an encyclopedic resource for those considering implementing future projects. Ideally, this fellowship would factor into my professional goals by connecting my academic background in water treatement technologies to researchers and developers building the actual products. I would really like to find out what products have the potential to scale, and maybe jump on board with one.
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
Background Radhika is from India. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Environment Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India. In her undergraduate study, she designed a water distribution network for a rural town and determined the working efficiency of water treatment plants in Bhopal. She has worked on spreading social awareness on issues like child labor, the education system and eye donation through street plays. She has also volunteered with relevant NGOs. As her Masters project, she is working on analyzing the harmful emissions of incense burning- a popular source of Indoor Air Pollution in India, and its heath impact. She believes that the true purpose of engineering is to serve the nature and mankind in a sustainable way.
What motivated you to pursue engineering for global development? I have always wanted to work in a field which gives me an opportunity to give back to society. I could have chosen Humanities or Social Volunteering for that matter, but I chose Engineering. This is a field which gives us an opportunity to not only work on the problems but imparts in us the ability to create solutions by ourselves. Technology or engineering solutions are futile if not used for the benefit of the ones who need them the most. Integration of technical knowledge with a zeal to serve should to be the cardinal motive of every engineer. This motivated me to pursue my desire of social development through engineering.
How do you see this fellowship factoring into your professional goals? I am determined to work in the field of environmental and resource sustainability and E4C fellowship is a propitious platform which would enhance my knowledge of the innovations taking place in the field. I'm looking forward for an experience that would help me to explore the technology on a more feasible and accessible ground. Moreover, this will give me an opportunity to connect and exchange ideas with people of different boundaries, cultures and perspectives.
Peace Corps Masters International program at Oregon State University
Background Megan is from Cohasset, Massachusetts, USA and is pursuing her MS in Mechanical Engineering through the Peace Corps Masters International program at Oregon State University. The degree combines graduate research with a full service in the Peace Corps, which she completed in Tanzania. Her research, a synthesis of work performed in Tanzania and at Oregon State, is centered on school resource security and focuses on water, sanitation and energy.
What motivated you to pursue engineering for global development? As I pursued my undergraduate degree and had the opportunity to begin research in the field, I was slowly exposed to the countless possibilities for engineers beyond the traditional scope of work set forth by textbooks or classrooms. I had the chance to experience firsthand the challenges that engineers can face when working in unfamiliar settings, which turned into my motivation to continually improve my understanding of the social and cultural contexts in which I would be working. During my graduate studies I had the opportunity to really dive into the field of global development by living and working abroad in a small village for over two years. This period was the ultimate learning experience; through immersion I better understood how to listen and collaborate directly with community members. My goal is to continue to work for and with communities to develop their own initiatives into innovations.
How do you see this fellowship factoring into your professional goals? This fellowship is an amazing opportunity to both strengthen my knowledge of technological solutions for global development, and to broaden my understanding of the global contexts we’ll be working in through collaboration with experts across the solution sectors. I’m most excited about working with fellows from around the world, to collaborate with such a diverse group of experts and further broaden my perspectives in the field of technology for development.
IEEE WIE Leadership Summit
Background Abir Chermiti is a Software Engineer from Tunisia. She has years of volunteering experience, boundless knowledge in computer sciences concepts. Forever in thirst of creativity, she is a proactive team player, a problem solver and has a mastery of interpersonal skills. Her ability to inspire, engage and empower students members around the world is outstanding. She was selected by the IEEE Women In Engineering as the Winner of the Most Inspiring Student Member of the year 2017 award and recently she is leading the first IEEE WIE Leadership Summit in Tunisia.
What motivated you to pursue engineering for global development? During my years at university, I got to know that engineering is the best way that allows you to contribute in reshaping the world and participate in the global development. So I pursued engineering studies and I’ve been an effective member in the community. Also, being affiliated to many non-profit organization gave me a good understanding of what the community needs and how we, as engineers, can make the world a better tomorrow.
How do you see this fellowship factoring into your professional goals? The E4C fellowship is a platform that allows you to connect with fellows and experts in your field, and it’s an opportunity to share knowledge and skills and work together to implement technology for a global development.
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Background Victor is an ICT engineer specialized in innovation for development. He has worked in projects such as the identification of target countries for social initiatives in the energy sector, the analysis of health initiatives using ICTs in rural areas of Latin America and the design and execution of knowledge networks focused on the Nexus (water and sanitation, energy and resilient agriculture sectors) for the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). He holds an international MBA and a Master in Strategies and Technologies for Development and for the last six months he’s been working with United Nations Global Pulse in Uganda, exploring the potential of big data for development.
What motivated you to pursue engineering for global development? I have always been a very socially committed person and passionate for sustainable development, that’s why, after 10 years working in the private sector, I decided to shift my career and life to give them a more meaningful purpose. Since then I have been focusing all my efforts to help improve social and environmental sustainability in a global level and I’m convinced technology and innovation are powerful tools to do so.
How do you see this fellowship factoring into your professional goals? I think collaboration is key to face the great challenges our world. The Sustainable Development Goals try to tackle the biggest problems of our era and organizations like Engineering for Change play a vital role in advancing towards those goals. This fellowship will give me the opportunity to work with E4C, get to know the people behind their initiatives and continue advancing with my career in the sustainable development area.
Universidad del Valle de Guatemala
Background Ceci is a mechatronics engineering senior student at Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. She is currently designing and implementing the power subsystem of Guatemala's first satellite as her bachelor thesis. She is also a long-time volunteer at Techo, an organization that fights extreme poverty through transitional housing constructions, social programs, and connecting different social sectors to pursue a common goal. This has given her the opportunity to collaborate on and manage projects in local communities and contributed to her personal growth as she worked with people from all walks of life. This has inspired her to find solutions with greater, long-term impact for the underpriviledged through her academic preparation.
What motivated you to pursue engineering for global development? I always knew I wanted to make a positive change in my country. I can't imagine adopting the apathy and indifference so many of my peers have when faced with the harsh reality of poverty in Guatemala. For a while I thought volunteering was enough to make a difference. But then, the underpriviledged stopped being just a fact or a number in my head: no longer a faceless and nameless people that needed saving. They became individuals with hopes, dreams, abilities and the drive to improve their lives, with as much to teach me as I could show them. This reinforced my wish to contribute in some way. Eventually I understood that the only way to make a real impact is to find sustainable solutions that integrate all aspects of development and society. At the same time, I wanted to study engineering, but it took me a while to figure out how it could be applied to development. I knew engineering was all about solving problems, and it finally clicked- it wasn't just problems in an industry, it could be applied to problems in developing communities. It was exactly what I always wanted- combining my passion for engineering with my hopes of helping make the world a better place for everyone.
How do you see this fellowship factoring into your professional goals? One of my passions is learning, and this fellowship is a wonderful opportunity to learn. I believe the best, most creative ideas are usually a combination of concepts that people hadn't considered before. It follows that in order to combine them, you need to know about them! This is why learning a wide variety of topics is one of my goals. The field I chose reflects that- a combination of both electronics and mechanical engineering. This also goes beyond just academic fields- no skill or knowledge is ever wasted, and everything is interconnected in some way. When I decided to enter the field of engineering for global development, the first step was to know more about it. The fellowship gives me the unique opportunity to learn about a wide array of products and agents involved in development- designers, manufacturers, distributors, users- and the tools and skills for better research and analysis. This will all contribute to my personal growth. When I start designing for development, I will have a deeper understanding of everything that it implies and, therefore, create better solutions.
Background Peter is a graduate of BSc. Electrical Engineering from Makerere University and Master of Technology Entrepreneurship, University of Maryland. He is currently working with Kiira Motors, a presidential initiative aimed at championing value addition in the domestic automotive industry for job creation and diversification of the Ugandan economy. He has completed research on: Construction of a low cost induction generator controller using Pulse Width Modulation for off grid micro and pico hydro stations; Feasibility study and analysis of integration of low voltage grid networks onto the national grid; Design and Construction of low cost square wave inverters for mini and micro hydro grids.
What motivated you to pursue engineering for global development? Transportation systems, networks and methods play a central role in opening up new areas for development and are a catalyst for economic activity especially in the growing economies. The aspiration to contribute to the research body of knowledge and create material that can be referenced by decision makers and technocrats as they develop systems, enact policies, practices and guidelines, especially in the transportation sector led me to engineering for global development. My interest in the sector focuses on local innovative transport solutions that facilitate or enhance trade and development of civilizations.
How do you see this fellowship factoring into your professional goals? Fellowship with Engineering for Change offers an invaluable exposure to professional international networks of scholars and practitioners from all over the world while allowing me to inspire my fellow citizenry, by documenting practical ways in which local technology and engineering solutions are being used to solve problems or challenges across the country, region and worldwide. Also, the fellowship gives me an opportunity to learn several attributes across the different sectors through providing access to solutions libraries with vast wealth of information. All these coupled together shall enhance my career in engineering for sustainable development.
Oregon State University
Background Grace is from Beaverton, Oregon, USA and holds a Dual MS in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Anthropology at Oregon State University. Her current research works to integrate and evaluate improved clean water and cooking technologies for institutions, such as schools and hospitals, in low-resource contexts.
What motivated you to pursue engineering for global development? During my time at University I sought out cross-cultural and international opportunities and became very involved in the Humanitarian Engineering program. Since then, I've been inspired by creative and innovative work done by people of various backgrounds and education levels. Engineering for global development is all about learning from others, showing empathy, and working together to solve some of society's most pressing issues. Engineering for global development is people-centered, which is why I continue to pursue it.
How do you see this fellowship factoring into your professional goals? In addition to the experience of working on the E4C Solutions Library and news pages, I'm especially looking forward to working with other fellows and learning from their experiences and stories. I think that who you collaborate with is just as important as what you are working on. With E4C, I know I'll be working with a fun and diverse group of experts!
University of Colorado, Boulder
Background Alex is graduating in May with a Master’s degree in Information and Communication Technology for Development from the University of Colorado. He has worked with a social enterprise in Kenya, GreenChar, a biofuel producer and Math and Sciences Academy, a non-profit based in New Mexico.
What motivated you to pursue engineering for global development? I have always had an interest in technology and ICTD allows me to pursue my passions and have a social impact. The multidisciplinary nature of international development allows me to work on interesting projects with a diverse group of collaborators. Having worked in industry, I don't want my projects to be profit driven. Cost is always a concern, but impact and sustainable change should be our motivation.
How do you see this fellowship factoring into your professional goals? The exposure to a wide variety of products and solutions as a fellow widened my perspective and allowed me to focus on projects and areas that I would like to focus. Returning as an expert fellow, I hope that will continue as well as working with the new cohort will add perspectives and areas of expertise. Adding the leadership role will also prepare me for future projects in international development.
Christian Bilingual University of Congo
Background Elisabeth is an architect in Ontario, Canada and did her Bachelor of Architectural Studies and Master of Architecture at the University of Waterloo. For the past three years she worked on a range of architectural projects with Philip Beesley Architect and Rolf Seifert Architect in Toronto, Canada. She has recently transitioned to serve with the Christian Bilingual University of Congo (UCBC) in Beni, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to assist their Integrated Research Institute with projects related to mapping and land administration.
What motivated you to pursue engineering for global development? My motivation to pursue architecture came from an interest in how built space has the opportunity to have positive impact on the lives of those who live within it. This interest has extended into engineering because problems facing communities today are complex and require interdisciplinary collaboration.
How do you see this fellowship factoring into your professional goals? I see this fellowship giving me an opportunity to practice leadership in the domain of global development, connect with equally passionate individuals in related specialties, and see how solutions are being developed in creative ways around the world.
Oregon State University
Background: Grace is from Beaverton, Oregon (USA) and is pursuing a dual MS in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Anthropology at Oregon State University. Her current research works to integrate and evaluate improved clean water and cooking technologies for institutions, such as schools and hospitals, in low-resource contexts.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? One of the challenges we face in development engineering is integrating systems-based interdisciplinary approaches. I believe that holistic models lead to engagement, long-term use, and sustainable practices in global development. I am interested in tackling global challenges by integrating methods and expertise from engineering, anthropology, and entrepreneurship.
University of Colorado
Background: Alex is pursuing a Master’s degree in Information and Communication Technology for Development from the University of Colorado. He has worked with a social enterprise in Kenya, GreenChar, a biofuel producer and Math and Sciences Academy, a non-profit based in New Mexico.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? One of the challenges in ICTD, and development as a whole, is a general lack of infrastructure. The part that I find interesting is that in some cases that has become a benefit in that solutions are developed without a requirement for traditional infrastructure. That is allowing the communities to leap frog over those requirements and come to closer to parity without the costly investment.
Institute of Technology in Stockholm
Background: Gustav has fulfilled a master in environmental technology and sustainable infrastructure at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. He is an active member of Engineers Without Borders – Sweden and has experience from project work in several African countries and the Middle East. At the moment he is doing an internship at the Swedish embassy in Maputo, Mozambique.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? One of the challenges I find interesting in development engineering is the crucial adaptation to the local context, not only technically speaking but also regarding the sociocultural context. I enjoy the necessary interdisciplinary approach and having to consider many aspects. Looking at the effects of introducing a technology in a broader sense than making the technology work makes it extra interesting to find smart solutions.
Makerere University in Kampala
Background: Trevor Nagaba is pursuing a B.S in Electrical Engineering at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Passionate about leadership, development and social entrepreneurship, he is eager to find out the kind of impact these three ingredients can make.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? The world’s population is growing with about 95% of this growth expected in developing or underdeveloped countries over the next 2 decades. This will put immense pressure on the transport systems in these countries. Contributing towards tackling this challenge of transportation is exciting to me because an improvement in the quality of transportation has a direct impact on people’s ability to trade and therefore their ability to prosper.
University of Waterloo
Background: Elisabeth graduated with her master of architecture from the University of Waterloo in 2015. She has contributed to building design, master planning, and community mapping projects in Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Nepal. Elisabeth is currently working on a range of architectural projects with Philip Beesley Architect and Rolf Seifert Architect in Toronto, Canada.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? I am interested in the process of designing and building spaces that improve quality of life, which includes navigating the social and organizational challenges behind it. The process of building a solution involves addressing layers of complex problems (maybe even new problems created by the solution), skill-building and communications, strategic phases of implementation, and the integrated involvement of various stakeholders and users. I am interested in exploring how these relationships are mapped out so that the big picture can be more easily understood and solutions can be more intentionally designed and communicated.
Universidad del Valle in Guatemala
Background: Mayarí is pursuing a B.S. degree in mechanical and industrial engineering at Universidad del Valle in Guatemala. She’s a member of Rotary International and likes working with local communities in Guatemala through volunteering and academic projects.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? Causing a real lasting impact. Offering a solution or product that fits the user needs in a way that can actually impact their everyday life. This requires good communication, working up close with the user, thinking outside the box and coming up with simple solutions. Following up on the project, giving it continuity and scaling the solution are essential to reach as many communities as possible.
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Background: Ricardo is an engineer with specializations in ICT and public policy. He has deployed projects related to transformation and development through innovation and technology. He holds a Master in Optical Communications from Politecnico di Torino, Italy, and is finishing a Master in Strategies and Technologies for Development at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? ICTs are producing what some may call the fourth industrial revolution. Although humanity is witnessing an impressive progress in this field, its impact in social development has been very modest. The correct use of technology can improve production cost, service cost, monitoring and evaluation procedures and optimize processes. The correct application of it is the biggest challenge we face ahead.
George Washington University
Background: Caroline graduated from the George Washington University (USA) in December with a degree in mechanical engineering. She will enter graduate school for biomedical engineering in the fall at Imperial College London (UK). In addition to E4C, she will be tutoring mathematics and enjoying the outdoors on her road bike this summer.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? One thing that interests me about developmental engineering is the idea in many countries that healthcare is more of a choice rather than a necessity. Due to the lack of resources and wealth, the mindset surrounding healthcare is far different than it is in most of the US. Recent advances in medical technology have greatly impacted the US and other developed countries, but the impact of these devices rarely reaches the undeveloped countries. Transportation to health facilities is also a concern.
Background: Biz graduated from Colgate University (USA) with a Bachelors in Physics and Women’s Studies. She works as a Project Manager for Empower Energy Design, building electricity from local resources with a team of Ugandan technicians and engineers.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? One of the biggest challenges in engineering development is ensuring local sustainability. Many development projects are formed with good intentions but are not always suitable for the community. Collaboration and a strong focus on eye-level development is essential to success.
Carnegie Mellon University
Background: Rebecca holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University, and is currently a PhD student in Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research focuses on energy storage technologies and applications, including electric vehicles, microgrids and other off-grid energy solutions.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? New, low-cost energy technologies are transforming the possibilities for delivering electricity to unserved and underserved communities, but in conjunction with these new technologies, we also need to develop innovative means for implementing these technologies. The business and community organization models need to not only address basic quality of life improvements, but should also align with long-term community improvement goals to be truly transformational to local economies and communities.
Johns Hopkins University
Background: Krista recently completed her Master’s in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University (USA) and is an alum of the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship program at Penn State (USA). She is wrapping up one year of research in Iquitos, Peru where she evaluated a de-centralized dry composting toilet system in the floating communities of the Amazon and conducted research on the development and dissemination of antibiotic resistance from hospitals into the environment and surrounding communities.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? The engineering challenge of most interest to me currently is sanitation! As more cities and countries work on increasing their infrastructure, we see a lot of projects that copy what has been successful in the USA or Europe, with mixed results. For example, Iquitos is one such city that designed a wastewater system based on Western practices, with very poor results. The unique geography and climate in the Amazon means that during rain, the city center floods with sewage from the new system. To design more sustainable sanitation systems for low-income, isolated, and/or tropical environments is of great importance and an interesting challenge.
University of Michigan
Background: Caroline is a Global Health Fellow with Baylor Global Initiatives at Baylor College of Medicine (USA). She holds a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan and was a part of the inaugural cohort of Engineering for Change Fellows last summer. Sustainability.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? In today’s world, technology is becoming increasingly accessible from a cost perspective. Consider 3D printing as an example. High quality printers that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a few years ago can be purchased today for USD $2500. While this significant reduction in cost makes 3D printing a feasible option for low-resource settings, the technology cannot be sustained if it isn’t deployed with appropriate educational tools. I am interested in how we can overcome implementation challenges such as education and maintenance to enable sustainable use of appropriate technologies.
Penn State University
Background: Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering and a minor in Environmental Engineering from Penn State University. He carried out his fellowship in Xai Xai, Mozambique, where he also conducted research for Penn State’s Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship program in his spare time.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? Farmers across the world face problems that are inherently similar; however, how different farmers deal with these problems varies greatly from region to region, especially in resource-constrained settings. Throughout my research and studies I am continually surprised at how technology is designed for developing communities without taking into account indigenous practices and cultural norms within the targeted communities. Designers and engineers can develop a great product, but at the end of the day, if the product is not able to be easily integrated into the end-user’s way-of-life, the designers are delivering a product and not a solution.
Colorado State University
Background: B.S. in Environmental Resources Engineering from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and candidate for a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University. Aside from working as a Fellow Thomas was working as Analyst at Factor[e] Ventures. He enjoys building crazy awesome stuff, riding his motorcycle and continuing the path to lifelong learning.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? An outside perspective may view a technology as only a gadget. Something that was invented in a garage or laboratory and evolved into a marketable product…this is no small feat by the way! As I learn more about technology for global development, I find that the gadget that we see on the surface is actually a complex and evolving web of processes, people and money. A technology’s success depends on the built in development, manufacturing, marketing, distribution and quality processes, a strong and dynamic team and a group of financial supporters. Each of these components must be robust and well thought out to be resilient against the unstable nature of the developing world. I admire the tech companies who have succeeded thus far in the developing world, now that I have learned what it takes to succeed.
Portland State University
Background: M.S. degree in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering at Portland State University. His research includes using UAV’s for environmental assessment of a water filter and cookstove intervention project in Rwanda. Craig is also an active member of Portland State’s Engineers Without Borders chapter and is currently working on a sanitation project for a K-8 school in Ethiopia.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? Innovation in global development engineering never ceases to amaze me. Often communities face a lack of resources and require new solutions to solve traditional engineering problems, or use different methods and materials. New insights in efficiency and sustainability are often bred from developing communities.
Ohio State University
Background: Molly Mollica studied at Ohio State University, earning her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering and her Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering with research focuses in mechanobiology, drug delivery, DNA nanotechnology, and electronic toy adaptation. In the fall, she will begin her PhD in Bioengineering at the University of Washington.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? The importance of remembering the end user somehow surprises me over and over again. As an engineer, it seems easy to get caught up in optimizing technical aspects and, in doing so, forgetting to focus on exactly what the user wants and needs. It doesn’t matter how finely tuned the technical specifications are if the product is not designed in a manner that is feasible and culturally sensitive for the future user.
Background: Charles Newman, an architect by training, has designed and built hundreds of structures across the East Africa region. Much of his work has blended unconventional building materials with traditional, established construction methods. In August, Mr. Newman will begin his Master’s research at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, focusing on participatory planning and design as a means to mitigate threats of climate change and human conflict.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? When it comes to both technology and method solutions towards effective global development, I am consistently surprised with how much I do not know. Having built numerous structures, often having spent months designing each, being corrected by a local mason or community leader is a regular occurrence. Human capacity and the appropriateness of locally sourced solutions never ceases to amaze me.
Washington University in St Louis
Background: Nick Okafor, from Dallas, TX, is a recent graduate of Washington University in St. Louis where he studied mechanical engineering and sustainable development. Passionate about the intersection of design, development, and education, he is excited to start his career empowering others to create social impact.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? My biggest surprise within technology for global development is the fact that so much is out there, yet we still struggle in providing wide access to basic human needs. There are hundreds of iterations of the water filter. The same can be said about dry-composting toilets and solar flashlights; the list goes on and on. Relatively, this tech is individually effective, but these products don’t have the intended community impact. This made me realize that the global issue isn’t with the technology, but with implementation, which shifted my own personal research to analyze what factors can promote efficacy within development projects and maximize their potential.
Background: Justine Rayner is a PhD candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tufts University. Her research focus is on the use of appropriate technology to address access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene with a focus on locally manufactured ceramic pot filters for household drinking water treatment.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? Human behavior
University of Maryland
Background: Sean Reischel is a rising senior Environmental Engineering major with a minor is Sustainability Studies at the University of Maryland: College Park. He was last year’s E4C summer intern, and conducted research on many of the products featured in the Solutions Library.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? There never is a correct answer to an existing problem. There are good and bad answers, but no answer is ever correct. The future of sustainable development is creating a bigger distance between good and bad solutions as more and more data continues to be collected.
Background: Mathilde Sirbu is a Master’s student at Columbia University, in the Energy track of the Mechanical Engineering program. At Columbia, she is working with the Sustainable Engineering Lab to help address development issues, which opened her eyes on the opportunities available for Engineers in developing countries.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? When it comes to providing Energy access, Engineers keep developing innovative ways to improve the lives of the poorest communities. Instead of going to the station and pay expensive fuel gas, you can now produce your own biogas from animal manure or cactus. Producing biogas from cow manure allows farmers to invest money saved from switching from expensive gas in caring for their children. In fact for emerging communities, energy is the essential foundation for everything else, education, health, economic development. These technologies are a great opportunity for emerging countries to leapfrog the in-developed established approach. Picturing our ways of living in a few decades, I can’t help thinking that all of us will end up with this kind of biogas systems in our backyard. And of course, being French, hearing about a Mexican farmer producing cheese from animal manure really impressed me: what if his cheese happened to taste better than the French ones?
University of Michigan
Background: Caroline Soyars graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. Her experiences in global development include a two-month clinical immersion in Kumasi, Ghana, designing an appropriate and low-cost medical device for low-resource settings for her senior capstone design project, and an internship in the Medical Devices Unit at the World Health Organization.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? The huge gap between the amount of technologies that are being developed and the amount of technologies that are available in low-resource settings. From my experiences, I have seen that despite the large number of technologies being developed for global health there are very few of these technologies available in the areas that need them most. More efforts need to be channeled into ensuring that technically sound and appropriate solutions are scaled-up and maintained in the target settings.
Background: Undergraduate student at Stanford University studying mechanical engineering with a focus in biomechanics. My mission is to build well-designed tools to alleviate problems in healthcare. I have sought to gain a myriad of experiences in the space of healthcare innovation through work in and exposure to biomedical research, digital health, surgical robotics, medical device development.
What is one thing that has surprised you about technology for global development? I have had the fortune to take part in incredibly enriching experiences in global development – I work with the nonprofit Human Engineers, Inc. to build prosthetic limbs for low-income patients in the Philippines, have traveled to China to evaluate potential implementation of health technologies, and am going to Uganda this upcoming summer with Stanford’s School of Engineering to improve the design and delivery of healthcare services in maternity wards. One thing that has both surprised and humbled me is the magnitude and interconnected nature of these global development problems that technology seeks to solve. It is impossible to consider or focus on one aspect of global development without recognizing its subsequent impact in other areas that you may never planned for or expected.
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