Sixteen Missouri University of Science and Technology students representing
seven different majors are spending their last few days of classes preparing
for their upcoming Engineers Without
Borders journey to Solola, Guatemala.
The chapter’s return trip to this tiny village will focus on finishing the
building of a second earthquake-resistant classroom — adding a roof, stairway
and electricity — and repairing the school’s bathrooms.
Andrew Blair of Perryville, Mo., a senior in civil engineering, will return
to Guatemala May 18-28 as the team’s leader after traveling with the EWB
chapter last year.
Also making the trip are two of Blair’s high school classmates: Philip Graf of
Perryville, Mo., a senior in mechanical engineering, and Justin Ruessler of
Perryville, Mo., a junior in architectural engineering. The three are 2005
graduates of St. Vincent High School from a class of 40 students.
Blair says he and Graf traveled to Guatemala last year, and Ruessler “jumped
on board immediately” after transferring last fall from Southeast Missouri
“Along with helping the students in Guatemala, I will get more familiar with
what it takes to make a trip like this happen,” Ruessler explains. “I hope I
will learn new skills from building the stairs, helping make the bathrooms
better and masonry work, and putting a roof together.”
Paul Hamilton of Kansas City, Mo., has spent the last several months
focusing on the project’s designs and is looking forward to making a return
trip to Guatemala.
“There’s a need in Guatemala, and I have a skill set that’s pivotal toward
increasing their standard of living,” Hamilton says. “It would be selfish to
withhold what I have to offer.”
Dr. Eric Showalter, an advisor who will accompany the group to Guatemala,
says the students’ designs center on simplicity and durability.
“In the United States, we can pump water and wastewater to get it where we
want it; if the pump breaks, we’ll get a new one tomorrow,” he explains. “In
many places, you try hard to use gravity flow because gravity works every
Showalter, a lecturer in civil, architectural and environmental engineering
at Missouri S&T, says EWB has some of the best students on campus. “I
always tell employers that these are students they should be trying to
recruit,” he adds.
Three professionals from Chicago will also join the EWB team, including
relatives of the
late Gavin Donohue, a Missouri S&T civil engineering student who was
killed last summer by a drunk driver just weeks after he returned from
Guatemala with EWB. Patrick Donohue, a professional engineer, and his wife,
Kathy, a registered nurse, are traveling with the Missouri S&T chapter to
honor their nephew. Juan Fraggoso, a professional engineer who works with
Patrick Donohue, will also make the trip.
Students traveling to Guatemala include:
An additional 20 Missouri S&T students, members of the same EWB chapter,
will leave May 18 for
the rainforests of Bolivia, where they plan to build self-composting
latrines, install LED study lights, and replace two pedestrian bridges.