MonoRiver.JPGThe Daily Princetonian recently highlighted annual summer working trips that the university’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders has been making since 2004 to the Peruvian village of Huamanzaña.

EWB projects there have ranged from improving communal bathroom facilities to installing solar power generators.

Every proposal for community improvement has come from the residents, senior Barbara Hendrick tells The Prince. “The point of EWB is that you’re working with the community, not just for it,” says Hendrick. “It’s really a partnership.”

Engineering undergraduates also have many other opportunities to do public service and/or study abroad.

Margaret Byron, who graduated in June with a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering, spent the spring semester of her junior year at the University of Melbourne in Australia.

Josh Muketha expanded his civil and environmental engineering education while in Rome, Italy, exploring the relationship between agrobiodiversity and indigenous communities’ efforts to cope with the effects of climate change.

During her sophomore year, Victoria Hewitt attended Ashesi University in Ghana followed by an internship in India at the International Water Management Institute in Hyderabad and junior independent work in Togo.

After graduating with a degree in operations research and financial engineering, Katie Hsih is now in Kono, Sierra Leone, on a yearlong public service fellowship during which she is conducting ethnographic research on female genital mutilation.  Her main work in Kono is as a program manager for a health clinic co-founded by Princeton alumnus Dr. Dan Kelly in 2006 to provide free health care to amputees and wounded from the country’s recent civil war. The clinic now serves pregnant mothers, young children and HIV positive individuals. You can follow Katie’s life and work in Sierra Leone on her blog.

To bring us back full circle to Engineers Without Borders: EWB members Meghan McNulty ’10, Henry Rounds ’09 and Neal Yuan ’10 last summer installed a photovoltaic system on the Kono clinic, powering an ultrasound and X-ray machine. Their Beacon Solar Energy Project was funded as a Davis Project for Peace.

Photo of Mono River, Togo, courtesy Victoria Hewitt