Charle Bagin, ’21, Operations Research and Financial Engineering

I worked on local farms in Laikipia County, Kenya, to aid water conservation efforts. When the Kenyan dry season rolls around, scarce water incapacitates farms and leaves cattle desperate for water. My adviser thought that implementing drip irrigation systems on these local farms instead of existing flood irrigation systems woud save hundreds of thousands of liters of water. Every day, I measured exactly how much water was being wasted, collected soil samples to be used as controls for the experiment, and interviewed farmers on the economic costs of their operations. I also checked in on the farmers every few days to ensure they were setting up their farms for the experiment and to build rapport with them. In the last days of the internship, I aggregated the data I had collected and did a cost-benefit analysis of the farmers’ operations before and after the implementation of the drip irrigation system to estimate their total profits after the experiment. I learned a lot about farming and agricultural practices, as well as about research processes and working independently.