Skip over navigation
Share this:

Development Challenge Past Interns: 2009

Mohit Agrawal, 2011, Mathmatematics


Internship:
Ghana School Library Initiative Implementation Trip

Organization:
Engineers Without Borders, Ashaiman, Ghana.

Adviser:
Peter Jaffe

"As the Ghanaian economy shifts from secondary to tertiary industry, strong English and computer skills will be in high demand. Ghana’s education system, though, fails to provide many children with a solid grasp of these skills.  Engineers Without Borders (EWB)-Princeton believes that it can help address this need with sustainable partnership with local groups."
     
"EWB–Princeton has partnered with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church to build a library at their school in Ashaiman; the library will serve both students and the local community.  Last summer, I was the project manager among a team of four Princeton students who built the first portion of the library;  the entire building will be done next year.  The library will have 3000 books, many donated and shipped from the United States.  The library will also include a computer lab with a shared internet connection."
     
"EWB–Princeton is committed to environmental sustainability.  For example, the walls of the library are constructed from landcrete blocks.  Landcrete blocks, made mostly of the clay-like material laterite, dramatically lower the carbon emissions related to building construction when used in place of concrete blocks.  We have also used pozzolana ash to substitute for one-third of our cement, and we are actively researching how to modify a shipping container to make our roof. "
     
"EWB-Princeton will hand off the library to its local partner once construction is completed and the books and computers are provided.  This incentivizes the local partner to make the project economically sustainable--that is, make sure that the library pays for itself.  Each local partner will have different ideas on how to pursue this goal; the EP Church plans to charge visitors to access the internet and will offer computer classes for certain fees.  Once the library is completed in Ashaiman, EWB-Princeton plans to build a second structure elsewhere with another local partner."


Jon Bradshaw, 2010, Civil and Environmental Engineering


Internship Title:
The Energy-Water Connection

Organization:
International Water Association, The Hague, The Netherlands

"Worked with IWA staff to develop a cost-benefit analysis for large scale water and energy retrofit programs in the US and Australia. Designed and created a tool to facilitate the creation of a Google Maps/Google Earth webpage to be used to map IWA membership information." (See presentation.)


Fatu S. Conteh, 2010, Chemistry


Internship:
Jorit Clean Water Project

Organization:
Davis Peace Project, Kemissie, Ethiopia

Adviser:
Christina Agawu

"Jorit, a semi-desert village of about 1000 people, is located in Northeast Ethiopia, 325 km from the capital (20 km from Kemissie). Residents live in mud and thatch hut, sharing space with their livestock. The average family size is eight, and the livelihoods of the people depend on subsistence agriculture and livestock raising. Due to small land holdings — 3 acre per family — and a primitive farming system that is rainfall dependent, famine, malnutrition and poverty are rife in Jorit. The village lacks basic infrastructures and services such as water, electric supply, a primary school and a health post. In fact poor sanitation is the major cause of health problems in the village. There is almost no culture of bathing in this community because of the unavailability of water. We built three hand dug wells with hand pumps in Jorit and two wells are currently being built in a different community nearby. Our project would not have been successful if it was not for the people of Jorit who dug wells, the local Water Management Bureau in Kemissie, and the Davis Peace Project which funded our project with the Global Challenges. We are very grateful for all people who made this project possible." (See presentation.)


Katie Camille Friedman, 2010, Chemical Engineering


Internship:
International Water Association

Organization:
International Water Association, The Hague, The Netherlands

Adviser:
Winston Soboyejo

"At the International Water Association, I worked with the Development group, which focuses on water and sanitation issues in developing countries. Working with a knowledgeable and experienced team, I had the opportunity to focus my efforts on two main projects. First, I conducted background research as well as drafted a brief for workshops in disaster prone countries to integrate water safety plans into disaster preparedness planning. A water safety plan is an important system of managing risks, from the source to the tap, as well as increasing resilience of a water system. These workshops will aim to coordinate government, NGO, and community members who work in the areas of water as well as disaster preparedness and relief. I gathered information on who the major actors are as well as noted problems with current systems in Mozambique, Vietnam, Nepal, Honduras, and Peru. The other project was working with the Access to Water task force. This group aims to produce a document that highlights success factors in increasing access to water in urban areas, considering a wide range of issues including operations and management, pro-poor policy, financial barriers, and community ownership. I gathered case studies for the group and presented summaries as to aid the proceedings of the group and compile factors to be addressed. Overall, this was a great opportunity to play a role in these projects as well as learn a lot about what is going on all around the world regarding safe water and sanitation practices.  Finding all of this (in addition to a 2008 Grand Challenges Internship regarding safe water in Nigeria) really interesting and exciting, I hope to continue to work in this area after graduation." (See presentation.)
 


Ming Lu, 2012, Operations Research and Financial Engineering


Internship:
Field Research Intern

Organization:
University of Botswana, Botswana

Adviser:
Kelly Caylor

"The project that I was working on (with Kelly Caylor's lab and Frances O'Donnell as the "mentor") is on the dryland vegetation along the Khalahari transect, which runs north-south in Botswana. Along this transect, the consistency of the solid is the same, but the amount of rainfall varies. Thus, several sites (four) are picked along this transect and comparisons are done on how the change in rainfall affects the amount of above ground and below ground biomass. Since this is a dry environment, special attention is put in the lateral spread of the below ground biomass."

"Basically, this summer I assisted in the fieldwork that is required to take the data for this project. I helped on something called GPR (ground penetration radar), a machine that sends a radar signal below ground, and by looking at the parabolas created by the radar bouncing off of the roots, you can model the roots that are underground. I also helped with root excavations and mapping." (See presentation.)


Dan Maselli, 2011, Molecular Biology


Internship:
Karibu Kenya

Organization:
African Wildlife Foundation, Wamba, Kenya

Adviser:
Dan Rubenstein

"The Grevy's Zebra project is a branch of the African Wildlife Foundation that aims to study Grevy's zebra population dynamics in order to better understand how to protect them. Currently, there are around 2,000 Grevy's zebras remaining in Kenya, a drastic 88% drop in population from three decades ago. Dr. Paul Muoria, a Kenyan biologist heading the investigation, and his team of researchers are working together with local people of the Samburu region to determine the reasons of this stark decline in numbers, whether that be from anthrax infection, over-predation, or human-wildlife conflict. And because many Grevy's zebras migrate on lands that Kenyans now use for agriculture, the human-wildlife conflict is a particularly sensative issue; Dr. Muoria, through his research, hopes to strike a balance between eco-friendly conservationism and the Kenyan drive towards self-sufficiency and economic development through agriculture and farming." (See presentation.)


Molly O'Connor, 2011, Civil and Environmental Engineering


Internship:
Kalahari Internship

Organization:
University of Botswana, Botswana

Adviser:
Kelly Caylor

"The Kalahari intern helps conduct fieldwork for a research project that studies the way differences in annual rainfall along the Kalahari Transect affect root structure, amount of above- and below-ground biomass, and soil. I had the chance to work on an independent project as well as assist professors and graduate students from Princeton, UVA, UCLA, and the University of Botswana on their projects; the intern has a great opportunity to learn from these researchers. The experience is valuable because the student is able to learn about environmental science firsthand and has the experience of living and working in various sites in Botswana. I found it to be a very supportive group and think that it is an exciting group to work for." (See presentation.)


Emily Sung, 2011, History


Internship:
Africa Grand Challenge–Trade-offs Between Carbon, Water and Biodiversity in the South African Fynbos

Organization:
University of Cape Town, South Africa

Advisers:
Simon Levin, Ryan Chisholm (EEB Graduate Student)

"The purpose of my internship was to assist Ryan with his research on the relative utility of pine plantations compared to fynbos conservation areas. I also worked on an independent project, focused on fire management in the Western Cape. In this region, fire is unquestionably the most important tool for fynbos conservation, but it's also one of the greatest threats to the forestry industry - and partly because the two camps (conservation and forestry) are largely at odds with one another, fire regulation policy is incredibly complicated and fraught with problems. To date, there does not exist a written history of all the important changes in fire management policy over the last couple of decades, and especially the CAUSES of those changes, and it is my belief that such a record would greatly improve everyone's understanding of, and ability to solve, the problems in the current set of fire management policies. Such a mutual understanding would be enormously helpful for improving relations with the forestry industry, and as a result for improving fynbos conservation in this region." (See presentation.)


Thinh Vu, 2012, Molecular Biology


Internship:
An Investigation of the Colonization Rates of Artificial Substrates by Benthic Macroinvertebrates


Organization:
Rhodes University, South Africa

"We constructed 72 artificial substrates using recycled green mesh, crushed brick, gravel and shredded plastic. These were then deposited in the Hamilton reservoir- suspended from a floatline. We collected a dozen of these every week and noted the types and numbers of macroinvertebrates that had colonized them since their initial deposition. At the end of 6 weeks were able to guess which artificial substrate was best suited for assessing each macroinvertebrate. We could also use the information garnered from doing this experiment to test the impact of water pollutants on the aquatic biodiversity of the reservoir." (See presentation.)


Benjamin Weisman, 2011, Woodrow Wilson School


Internship:
International Water Management Institute, East Africa and Nile Basin Regional Office

Organization:
International Water Management Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

I worked on an IWMI-wide research project entitled "Marketing Scientific Information: Assessing the effectiveness of how the scientific information is packaged, distributed, and promoted. "We evaluated the effectiveness of several Ethiopia/East Africa-specific  Agricultural Water Management products (conferences, policy briefs, conference proceedings, and the IWMI website) through personal interviews with several beneficiaries of the products, and worked with  Princeton interns in the India office to finalize an evaluation methodology and generate universal lessons on scientific communication for policy." (See presentation.)


Melecia Wright, 2011, Molecular Biology


Internship:
An Investigation of the Colonization Rates of Artificial Substrates by Benthic Macro-invertebrates in the Hamilton Reservoir, Grahamstown

Organization:
Rhodes University, South Africa

Adviser:
Dr. Tony Booth

"We constructed 72 artificial substrates using recycled green mesh, crushed brick, gravel and shredded plastic. These were then deposited in the Hamilton reservoir- suspended from a floatline. We collected a dozen of these every week and noted the types and numbers of macroinvertebrates that had colonized them since their initial deposition. At the end of 6 weeks were able to guess which artificial substrate was best suited for assessing each macroinvertebrate. We could also use the information garnered from doing this experiment to test the impact of water pollutants on the aquatic biodiversity of the reservoir." (See presentation.)


Jane Yang, 2011, Chemical Engineering


Internship:
Ghana School Library Initiative Implementation Trip

Organization :
Engineers Without Borders, Ashaiman, Ghana

Adviser:
Peter Jaffe

"Ashaiman, Ghana is a city slum of 250,000 located in the outskirts of Tema, Ghana, West Africa's major port. A product of government neglect, Ashaiman used to be known as the "City of Nonsense," a place rampant with armed robbers and other criminals. Today, however, Ashaiman is slowly improving. With the arrival of several banks, the city is entering the modern financial world. Its education system, however, is still lacking. In the summer of 2009, I went to Ashaiman with Engineers Without Borders on a Grand Challenges Internship to implement the first phase of construction of the Achieving Greater Heights Community Library. This library will be the only community library in all of Ashaiman. It will include not only over 3000 books in English, French, and Arabic, but also a computer lab of approximately 50 netbooks. In addition to overseeing the construction of the reinforced concrete substructure, I worked with students at the Evangelical Presbyterian Basic School each day in an after-school enrichment program. Additionally, I met with various political and religious leaders in the area to establish a network of support for the library. Finally, armed with a camcorder, microphone, tripod, and curiosity, I interviewed over 20 students, teachers, administrators, educational professionals, and general residents in Ashaiman over my seven-week stay. In total, I shot over 24 hours of footage. I am currently in the midst of editing this footage to create a documentary on education in Ashaiman. I hope to complete the editing process by February 2010"

Related Video


Hassen Yesuf, 2010, Astrophysical Science


Internship:
Jorit Clean Water Project

Organization:
Davis Peace Project, Kemissie, Ethiopia

Adviser:
Christina Agawu

"Jorit, a semi-desert village of about 1000 people, is located in Northeast Ethiopia, 325 km from the capital (20 km from Kemissie). Residents live in mud and thatch hut, sharing space with their livestock. The average family size is eight, and the livelihoods of the people depend on subsistence agriculture and livestock raising. Due to small land holdings- 3 acre per family- and a primitive farming system that is rainfall dependent, famine, malnutrition and poverty are rife in Jorit. The village lacks basic infrastructures and services such as water, electric supply, a primary school and a health post. In fact poor sanitation is the major cause of health problems in the village. There is almost no culture of bathing in this community because of the unavailability of water. We built three hand dug wells with hand pumps in Jorit and two wells are currently being built in a different community nearby. Our project would not have been successful if it was not for the people of Jorit who dug wells, the local Water Management Bureau in Kemissie, and the Davis Peace Project which funded our project with the Global Challenges. We are very grateful for all people who made this project possible." (See presentation.)