Elizabeth Sajewski ’13


Environmental Engineering

Project Title

Oxford University Clinical Research Unit: Vietnam /Nepal Typhoid

The goal of my internship was to develop a preliminary assessment of the level of environmental degradation of the Bishnumati River, one of the main rivers and surface water sources for Kathmandu, Nepal. I was also interested in gauging the health risks of polluted river water on the local community, the community’s level of education about these risks, and their level of environmental responsibility and stewardship. To create my assessment, I collected and completed microbiological analyses on water samples, coordinated with local labs to complete physical and chemical analyses, and interviewed health post workers and others about their level of environmental awareness and sense of responsibility. From this data, I created and presented a report detailing the condition of the Bishnumati River. I also made several recommendations for future river rehabilitation and restoration projects. I learned so much about the challenges facing the developing world as rapid urbanization and population growth stress the waste management infrastructure. I was also inspired by the awareness of and enthusiasm for environmental restoration and preservation that pervaded the education system. This gives me hope that these challenges will be met in the future with greater vigor and a greater effort for resolution.

Internship Year


Project Category



Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Nepal


Bryan Grenfell, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Woodrow Wilson School