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 email@example.com
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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