Haley Lane, 2016, Civil and Environmental Engineering

The area surrounding Mt. Kenya is unique due to the sharp precipitation gradient the peak generates. Because of this precipitation disparity intrinsic to the Laikipia Plateau, the region is home to both large scale industrial farming and communities afflicted by serious drought. The overarching goal of this project was to determine water availability in both upstream and downstream communities and to assess the relative effectiveness of the governmental structures that systematize local water usage. In addition to collaborating with local government officials, my work centered on profiling the stream systems flowing down from Mt. Kenya. For seven weeks, our group focused on gauging flow rates at ten different sites along the Nanyuki River and its tributaries, the Likii and Timau. For the final two weeks, we focused on testing water and plant samples for both isotope and turbidity analysis. This internship offered me the chance to gain valuable experience in both field work and lab analysis. Moreover, it exposed me to the diverse culture and extraordinary ecology inherent to Kenya. This experience has inspired me to pursue thesis research based on fieldwork, and it also fostered a personal interest in sustainable development that I will carry with me as I consider future career goals.