Mentoring Engineering Students on an EWB USA Project in Nicaragua
Emily Holtzclaw and Greta Zornes are engineers who focus on water resources at CH2M HILL. What distinguishes them from most other engineers in their field is that in 2006 they teamed up to mentor a group of six Rice University students on an EWB USA project in Bernardino Diaz Ochoa, Nicaragua. During the survey trip to the community the team discovered that the village lacked clean water, electricity, a reliable source of fresh water and a health center. They began planning the project and returned a few months later to install a small solar lighting system for the church, the focal point of the community. With mentoring from Emily and Greta, the students designed a water system which uses a rainwater catchment system on the church roof to feed a nearby tank, providing a source of clean water. At the end of their trip the team taught the community about the use and maintenance of the systems. They hope that the effectiveness of the new water systems will encourage neighboring communities to adopt similar systems.