In May 2012, one team of four students traveled to Quito, Ecuador with Prof. Kurt Paterson for iDesign. There, they met with Prof. Remigio Galarraga-Sanchez and students at the Escuela Politécnica Nacional (EPN), before traveling to the small community of Yuu, in the Amazon region. An assessment of Yuu’s existing piped water distribution system led to recommendations for a different design, relying on household rainwater catchment.
In August 2012, three teams (13 students and 1 mentor) traveled to Panama with Profs. Mike Drewyor and Dave Watkins. With the City of Knowledge (Ciudad del Saber) in Panama City as home base, the teams traveled out to remote locations in the country—one team to the Majé region in eastern Panama, and the other two teams to the Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé. Each team was hosted either by a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer or a host family. Design projects were two community water systems and a micro-hydroelectric system.
Student participants came from backgrounds in Civil, Environmental, Mechanical, Chemical, and Service Systems Engineering, providing interdisciplinary perspectives on sustainable development problems.
The assistance of many people made these trips successful: Prof. Remigio Galarraga-Sanchez and his students; Graduate student Kelli Whelan; Peace Corps Volunteers Pete and Kelly Brands, Chris Kingsley, Chet Hopp, Jake Midkiff, Jordan Van Sickle, and Erica Jones; former Peace Corps Volunteer Alan Foster; and the community members who were all generous hosts.
David Watkins, Mike Drewyor, and Kurt Paterson, Instructors
Special thanks to this year’s student mentors, Pam Brushaber and Ashley Maes, as well as the following host Peace Corps Volunteers: Lyndsey Bunting, Laura Fishman, Chris Kingsley, Alan McDonald, Jake Midkiff, and Jessica Rudder. Generous assistance was also provided by Regional Peace Corps Director, Erin Kelly, and former PCV, Timothy Burke. Without their guidance and assistance, the 2011 program would not have been possible.
In August 2010, two teams (10 students and 2 mentors) traveled to Panama for iDesign. As in 2009, the City of Knowledge (Ciudad del Saber) in Panama City served as home base, and students and mentors traveled to project sites to the west. This year, one group partnered with a small community, Sajalices, in western Panamá Province, and the other spent time in a small indigenous community, Salto Dupí, in the Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé (no´-bay boo-glay'). In Sajalices, the team lived with a host family, and in Salto Dupí, the team was hosted by a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer. For 8 days, students lived in the communities, learning about their culture and community development priorities.
Student participants majored in four engineering disciplines: Chemical Engineering (4), Civil Engineering (2), Environmental Engineering (3), and Mechanical Engineering (1).
This year’s program was made possible by the U.S. Peace Corps-Panama, the UNDP Global Environment Facility, the City of Knowledge, the Michigan Tech Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, and the volunteer student mentors (Krissy Guzak and Kelli Whelan).
In August 2009, four teams (19 students and 4 mentors) traveled to Panama for iDesign (International Senior Design). With the City of Knowledge (Ciudad del Saber) in Panama City as home base, students and mentors traveled to project sites in the western part of the country--Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro provinces. Each student team was hosted by a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer (two of them Peace Corps Master’s International students), serving in Ngäbe-Buglé (no´-bay boo-glay') communities. For one week, students lived as the indigenous peoples do, learning about their culture and community development goals.
The design projects included a new community water distribution system, recommendations for rehabilitating an old water system, and two footbridges for communities with limited access to roads and recreational areas. The design reports are provided to the Peace Corps volunteers and their communities, who will use them as guidelines as they seek funding and possible implementation.
Student participants came from backgrounds in Civil, Environmental, and Electrical Engineering; Chemistry; and Geophysics, providing interdisciplinary perspectives on sustainable development problems.
This was the first group to travel to Panama and partner with the U.S. Peace Corps. The program would not have been possible without the generous assistance of the Peace Corps volunteers and the volunteer mentors, who are heartily thanked for their time and efforts.
ISD 2008 Summary
In 2008 three classes (31 students and 8 mentors) traveled to Santa Cruz, Bolivia for International Senior Design. As in past years, construction on the Walter Henry School continued with two ground level classroom being completed by the end of August. Students poured foundations, laid brick and placed concrete beams for the ceiling/floor. Work on the school was always interesting and while learning the techniques to accomplish this from the Bolivian workers was often challenging, it was always rewarding. From this experience everyone spoke a little bit of Spanish when they returned home.
Design Projects included storm canal and road designs, wastewater systems for government schools, a biomedical project designing a brace for polio victims, a Master’s student teaching about water quality in Bolivian schools, business feasibility studies, and communication studies. This was the first group of classes to bring a biomedical team along, showing how ISD continues to evolve at Michigan Tech.
With the participants majoring in Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, Scientific and Technical Communication, Business, and Applied Science Education there were many opportunities to learn from one another and grow as a class.
This year eighteen students (1 Mechanical, 1 Scientific and Technical Communication, 10 Civil Engineering, 4 Environmental Engineering and two MS students) and eight mentors participated in ISD. Giancarlo, a civil engineering student from Cochabamba, became the first Bolivian student in the class (He is now studying at MTU!). The students worked on the Walter Henry School construction site, gathered project design data, and endured writing lessons.
Walter Henry School
Two classrooms were almost completed. After students constructed the masonry walls, they installed ceilings by nailing chicken wire on wooden framing then placed a straw and concrete mixture over the chicken wire. Walls were chipped in preparation for stucco and window frames were set. At every available moment the school children showed their appreciation for the school.
This year there were two ISD classes, one traveled in July and the other in August. Each of the five design teams were assigned a different storm drainage project aimed at alleviating rainy season flooding. Teams met with the subalcaldesa (submayor), city engineers, barrio presidents, and local community members to collect required data and conduct soils analysis and topographical surveys.
Theresa Moore (2001), Amy Curtis (2004), Maureen Habarth, Mary Anderson, Heather Wright, Matt Van Slembrouck (2005), Amanda Kohler and Bailey Gamble (2006), served as class mentors, guiding students in data collection and project
continued at Walter Henry school this year as ISD
poured two second-story classroom floors. Additional
work included laying brick walkways and walls. The
worksite processes allowed students to learn Bolivian,
as well as offer their own, construction techniques.
Learning opportunities arose especially while constructing
the classroom floors, so the methods are important
to note. First, the floor was formed by placing beams
and analyzing their support capabilities, fitting
plastiform, and cutting/tying rebar. The next step
entailed mixing, transporting, and shoveling concrete.
Finally, in order to pour the floor, workers passed
buckets of concrete to the second story while standing
design groups formed within the class to analyze
problematic sites in Santa Cruz: one school septic
system, and three storm drainage projects.
pairs of ISD alumni returned as mentors: Heidi Steudle
and Susie Jarosch (2003); Matt Van Slembrouck and
Corrie Craft (2005). Corrie conducted graduate research
in sustainable concrete. Susie was sponsored by
her employer, R.W. Beck.
a civil engineering student from Cochabamba, “sacrificed”
two weeks of his schooling to participate in the
design and construction projects and to aid ISD’s
Michigan Tech classes worked in Bolivia in July and
August 2005. The walls keep rising….Last year
the first floor bathrooms and a school room were constructed
on the new Walter Henry School site. This year another
room was added on ground floor as well as 3 rooms
above. Next year the freshmen through juniors will
occupy these new school rooms! Design projects this
year ranged from analyzing the existing structural
design including testing concrete strengths and performing
designed septic systems for four government schools
with malfunctioning bathrooms and septic systems.
School master planning is also included in for schools
with rapid student growth. They also conducted drinking
water quality studies at the schools. Other class
members designed storm drainage solutions for the
7th ring in District 10 and another team proposed
redesign solutions to standing water problems in a
paved drainage canal on the 6th ring.
final team is conducting a feasibility study of the
garbage dumping and pollution in the swamps formed
by former brick factories in the area. These areas
are breeding ground for disease as well as play areas
for the children. The District 10 sub-mayor and Santa
Cruz city offices’ were extremely helpful and
supportive of the design projects. Three former International
Design Students returned as mentors: Marc Plotkin
(2001), Tim Elmore (2002), and Tim Martin (2003).
MTU ChE Alum Nancy Bach also joined us.
Tech students finally built the first masonry walls
on the new school property. Michigan Tech CEE students
began “working” on these walls in Linda’s
“Professional Practice” class in1998.
In addition, students designed septic systems for
a new government school without bathrooms and tackled
a system redesign for another government school with
a malfunctioning and potentially dangerous septic
field. They also conducted drinking water quality
studies at the schools. Other class members revised
last year’s project of a comprehensive storm
drainage study of Los Pinos. Working with the mayor
and sub-mayor, they were able to secure city equipment
and culvert to begin construction of their design.
group studied storm drainage of a large school site
in Montero and is developing feasibility site plans
for a new university. The final group is developing
site plans for a new campus for a guarderia (day care),
church and guard living quarters. Septic system redesign
is also required for their project. Mike Paddock and
Max Schmiege (the Bolivian “Chuck Norris”),
Michigan Tech alums and practicing CH2MHill engineers
assisted the class.
class constructed the spring and pump boxes and installed
the solar powered pump as designed by last year's
class while the locals laid the pipe. Solar Panels
were donated by the Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory
at Arizona State University with the help of Michigan
Tech alum, Howard Barikmo. Solar water pump and equipment
were purchased from Oasis Montana, who helped with
the overall solar pump design. Design projects this
year are a suspended bridge crossing of a river and
a water system design for the mountain village of
Los Conucos. RPCV Matt Niskanen of Turner Construction
and Michigan Tech Master's International student and
PCV Lyle Stone assisted this class.
Tech students installed masonry second floor classroom
walls on last year's floor. In addition, they designed
and constructed the septic tank on the new school
property and other class members finalized the site
plan using fill generated by their comprehensive storm
drainage study. Another student group investigated
environmental conditions at a local orphanage. Mike
Paddock, an Michigan Tech alum and practicing CH2MHill
engineer assisted the class.
Tech students and villagers built a large masonry
water storage tank designed by Michigan Tech alum
and Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV), Matthew Niskanen
for the village of Rancho Viejo located in the mountains
near the Haiti border. Students then designed the
water distribution system for the village consisting
of spring and pump boxes, solar powered pump and associated
distribution piping. The project is supported by the
Parroquia San Pedro Apostól in El Cercado and the
Tech students deconstructed the roof and ceiling structure
of a classroom and bathroom area, erected precast beams,
and formed and poured the floor over this area which serves
as the for second floor classroom floor. A phased construction
plan and estimate for the new school was developed as well
as a proposed septic system design and site fill alternatives.
Other class members completed a structural design for a
school in Rio Colorado, Bolivia.
International Senior Design classes to Bolivia were offered
in 2001. The students and local villagers constructed the
two largest masonry walls for the church/school assembly
hall. The school, at the time, was 5 rooms. Michigan Tech
students initiated feasibility studies of a new school site
that floods with average rains.
second class of Michigan Tech students, working with locals,
constructed and erected church roof trusses and installed
the masonry subfloor for the church/school assembly hall.
A structural design analysis of wall and roof systems was
performed for the planned school complex and site feasibility