David Newill-Smith, 2014, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

My internship this summer at Pan African Global Academy (PAGA) high school in Oshiyie, Ghana was an incredible introduction into the logistics of designing and building off-grid renewable energy systems and the world of International Development. Over the course of the internship, I had the opportunity to work closely with Ghanian electricians, masons, and other professionals working in renewable energy to design and start construction on a small wind turbine power system for PAGA. This entire process, filled with both successes and difficulties, gave me rare and invaluable insight into the logistics of building small, off-grid, renewable energy systems. Aside from the technical and logistical skills I learned, I gained a new perspective into international development work and formed incredibly rich relationships with the students and faculty of PAGA, renewable energy professionals, and other Ghanians I met. The experience shaped my plans for future involvement in international development. It allowed me to see what does and does not work in projects such as this, and how to build a social venture for accomplishing something positive in the world.