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Descriptions By Years and Country

2009-2013 Projects:

iDesign: International Senior Design: Reports & Presentations



2013 Reports, Presentations & Posters

Photo by M. Drewyor

We greatly appreciate the assistance provided by this year’s student mentor, Zoe Miller, and the following Peace Corps Volunteers who made this year’s program possible: Chris Kingsley, Siobhan Girling, DanielleRenzi, Amber Naylor, Aja Kennedy, Jake Midkiff, and Briana Drake. 

CEE Senior Design Colloquium December 10th and 12th, 2013 CEE Newsblog article

A Video Playlist is available 2013-14 CEE Presentation Selections by Michigan Tech Engineer Channel (Presentationa at Colloquium and D-80 Conference)


2012 Samples of International Programs Playlist on YouTube Link
(because YouTube Video Player such as the one above are not reliable)

December 2012 Colloquium News Article

2012 Reports, Presentations & Posters

  • Yuu, Ecuador Water Supply Project – Pipe Bueno

Report | Presentation | Poster

  • Hato Pilón, Panama Water Supply Project – Hard Body Engineering

Report | Presentation | Poster

  • Cerro Miel, Panama Water Supply Project – Uno Más Engineering

Report | Presentation | Poster

  • Majé-Chimán, Panama Hydropower Project – Zapatero Engineering

Report | Presentation | Poster

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

CEE Design Teams Present Projects December 1-13 2012 CEE News Artcle

2011 Reports, Presentations & Posters

  • Candela Aqueduct Project – Team Candela

Report | Presentation | Poster

  • Chichica Aqueduct Project – TMC Engineering Consultants

Report | Presentation | Poster

  • Chichica Footbridge Project – 36SB Consultants

Report | Presentation | Poster

  • Cerrro Piedra/Mamey Hydropower Project – El Tigre Engineering

Report | Presentation (~30 MB) | Poster

  • Piriatí Hydropower Project – Ye-Yé Engineering

Report | Presentation | Poster (~25 MB)

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.

2011 Video Playlist of Examples of Project Presentations at the D80 Conference

2010 Reports & Presentations

  • Salto Dupí Irrigation Project - Mujeres Fuertes Consultados

Report | Presentation

  • Sajalices Charcoal Kiln Project – The Mangrove Charcoal Sustainability Engineers for Sajalices (MCSES)

    Report | Presentation

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).

2009 Reports

  • Boca de Macho Bridge Project – Murdurie Consulting

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.

David Watkins and Mike Drewyor, Instructors

ARCHIVES: 2001-2008

2008 Projects:


2008 Slide Shows

May 2008:

July 2008:

August 2008:

Slide Show 1 May 2008

Slide Show 2 May 2008

Slide Show 3 July 2008

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.

2007 Projects:


2007 Slide Shows

August 2007:

July 2007
Slide Show 1
Slide Show 2

August 2007
Slide Show 1
Slide Show 2

ISD 2007 Summary

ISD Group
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.

ISD Projects
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

2006 Projects:
Bolivia 2006 Slide Shows

August 2006:

August 2006 Bolivia Slide Show Part 1

August 2006 Bolivia Slide Show Part 2

August 2006 Bolivia Slide Show Part 3

Construction 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 on scaffolding.

Four design groups formed within the class to analyze problematic sites in Santa Cruz: one school septic system, and three storm drainage projects.

Two 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.

Giancarlo, 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 translation.

2005 Projects en Español :
Bolivia 2005 Slide Shows

July 2005:

August 2005:

To download a free copy of Acrobat Reader for reading the files, click:
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July 2005 Bolivia Slide Show

August 2005 Bolivia Slide Show

Resumens de los informes en Español (PDF)

Two 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 soil borings.

Students 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.

The 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.

2004 Projects
Bolivia 2004 Slide Shows

Los Pinos Neighborhood Storm Drainage
School Sanitary Systems and Water Quality
Montero University Storm Drainage and Feasibility
Montero Guardaria (Daycare)

Michigan 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.

Another 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.

Dominican Republic
2004 Slide Show

Suspended Bridge
Los Cunocos Water Supply Team 1
Los Cunocos Water Supply Team 2

This 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.

2003 Projects


2003 Slide Show

Michigan 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.

Dominican Republic
Rancho Viejo Water Supply 2003 Slide Show

Michigan 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 Peace Corps.

2002 Projects
Design Projects Web Site 2002 Slide Show
Michigan 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.

2001 Projects
Bolivia 2001 Project Web Site 2001 Slide Shows
Two 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.
The 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 was reassessed.

Last Modified on : August 1, 2015

Michigan Technological University
College of Engineering
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, Michigan, 49931 - 1295, USA
Department Phone: 1-906-487-2520
Department Fax: 1-906-487-2943
Department E-mail:  

Michigan Technological University
is an equal opportunity educational institution / equal opportunity employer

For more info contact:

David Watkins
806 Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building
(906) 487-1640

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