Nisha Rao, 2012, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

I worked in a Civil and Environmental Engineering Lab here at Princeton, participating in a fluoride filtration project. I helped a graduate student to test various materials for their effectiveness as filter material. We experimented with several combinations of clay, flour, and hydroxyapatite and took measurements of their pH, surface area, and fluoride sorption. Although the work I was doing was physically removed from the villagers in India suffering from excess fluoride in their groundwater, I felt inspired to be a part of the process of intervention-development. We had to constantly evaluate our implicit assumptions regarding the sustainability of the filter in the context of the villagers’ relationships with one another and their limited material resources.