Eliza Harkins, 2014, Civil and Environmental Engineering

The goal of my project was to examine the current water systems of 25 rural communities and, from there, create models and predictions of future water availability for those communities, factoring in climate change and increased agricultural activity. My personal role in the project centered on the physical and hydrological concerns. On the one hand, I was responsible for creating GPS maps of each community, and I also helped in the conception and collection of pipe flow measurements. On the other hand, I was creating documents that succinctly summarized our projects for the communities and outlined the methodologies and equipment we were using. Through this internship, I learned technical skills such as how to use GIS software; but beyond that I learned about the practicalities of scientific research in real communities, how to balance social and engineering sciences, and how to fit the needs of the research with the desires of the community. Working with a team of PhD students has led me to consider pursuing additional academic, furthering my education after my undergraduate degree.