Benjamin Tien, 2015, Chemical and Biological Engineering

This summer our team travelled to Perú for six weeks to build a potable water system in the community of La Pitajaya, which has no access to drinking water. We aimed to complete the water system for the part of the community at a higher altitude (La Pitajaya Alta), to collect data in the lower part of the community (La Pitajaya Baja) which will inform our technical designs for the Baja water system to be built in summer 2014, and to introduce our educational project of 13 environmental lesson plans in the local school of Samne. Three kilometres of trenched pipeline, one pressure break, several tapstands, hundreds of data points, and multiple school visits later, we are happy to say that we completed the objectives for this trip Potable water is now flowing in la Pitajaya Alta! Facing the problems that inevitably arise with completing a developmental project and being abroad, developed our independence and greatly honed our problem-solving abilities, teamwork skills, and adaptability. Now more than ever before we can appreciate how truly privileged we are. This project has inspired some of our team members to work in international development and humanitarian engineering, for organizations like the Peace Corps and Doctors Without Borders.