Professor Amr M. Baz

 

 

 

 
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Engineers Without Borders team with the community

Engineers Without Borders team with the community

 

This past January, 11 representatives of the University of Maryland chapter of Engineers Without Borders traveled to Compone, Peru to implement a drinking water disinfection system. During the trip, students and faculty worked alongside community members to construct a functioning chlorinator and to educate the community on water-related health issues. The trip was the culmination of a year of design work and preparation beginning with an assessment trip in January 2013.

The group included two sub-teams: an engineering team and a public health team. While the engineering team focused on the design and construction of the proposed system, the public health team focused on running educational workshops and conducting interviews with community members. The engineering team consisted of Jordan Cassell (civil engineering), Juan Alonso Cruz (electrical engineering), Civil Engineering Professor Barton Forman, project leader Kevin Hogan (computer engineering), Abby Iacangelo (bioengineering), and Jon Tseng (computer science). The public health team consisted of Family Science Professor Stephanie Grutzmacher, doctoral student Graciela Jaschek (epidemiology), Stephanie Olcese (neurophysiology), Priya Parikh (individual studies) and doctoral student Greg Raspanti (environmental health and toxicology).

The engineering team was successful in constructing a chlorination system from locally available materials. Nearly 50 community members were involved in the construction process. The team taught select individuals how to properly operate the system and ensure that the drinking water supply is chlorinated consistently. The public health team organized several workshops for children and adults that covered topics such as hand washing and disease transmission. The team also interviewed 10 members of the community as a follow-up to interviews conducted during the 2013 assessment trip.

Throughout the spring semester, the chapter will work with community members remotely to address any questions or concerns that might arise with the system. The team plans to return to Compone to evaluate the functionality of the system and make improvements and repairs as necessary.



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February 16, 2014


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