Page 24 - Engineering Career Guide for UT Austin
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Engineers Without Borders sends teams of students all over the world to help communities solve problems.
For a career that combines interesting work with helping
others — plus financial security — engineering has it wrapped
up. Even better: you can start making a difference while you’re still in college. Student chapters of Engineers Without Borders send teams
all over the world to help communities solve real problems. Nepal is famous for Mt. Everest but is also one of the world’s least developed countries. Steep mountains plus
isolated plateaus and valleys make building infrastruc- ture like water sanitation systems difficult. Imagine walking miles along dirt paths to and from school and having to wonder whether the water you’re thirsty for
will make you sick. University of Colorado, Boulder, sends Engineers Without Borders teams to Nepal every year on projects that provide communities in the Ilam District access
Nuevo Loreto, Peru
to clean water. The students on the team are responsible for everything from the grant proposals that fund trips, to visiting prospective sites to talk with locals about what to build, to surveying where and how to build.
But this is not a top-down donation of expertise from developed to devel- oping world. What the team ends up building starts with finding out what the community thinks about what should be built. Students gather informa- tion by working with a local non-governmental organization and talking with residents. Recent CU graduate Max Churchill comments that “the awesome, awesome thing is the high level of local ownership of the project.”
“Ultimately, it’s about what the community wants,” says Erica Wiener, the Nepal Secretary for the Colorado chapter. CU also sends teams to Rwanda, Peru. “The focus is on sustainability, rather than on design. That’s part of engineering anywhere, to learn how to work with expectations and make adjustments for sustainability.” Max Churchill credits his experience in Ne- pal, which included trekking, with enhancing employability: “Originally, I just knew I wanted to travel. But the fact that as an undergrad I had so much experience working as part of a multicultural team blows people away!”

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