S&T Engineers Without Borders students to spend August in Bolivia,

Posted by
On August 7, 2008

As one group of members from the Engineers Without Borders student chapter
at Missouri University of Science and Technology prepares to leave Bolivia,
another team from that chapter is packing for Honduras.

“This has been our most productive summer to date,” says Dr. Rick
Stephenson, professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at
Missouri S&T and the chapter’s advisor. “We will have 64 students and
professionals working on four infrastructure and health projects in three

A team of eight Missouri S&T students and two faculty advisors will
return to Missouri on Aug. 8 after a week in the remote community of Tacachia,
Bolivia. Located in a steep valley south of La Paz, the village is nearly
inaccessible to the city.

“The Missouri S&T team is assessing the possibility of building a foot
bridge across the valley, which will open access for Tacachia residents to
travel to La Paz for medical visits and for agricultural commerce,” Stephenson
says. “The students are also investigating plans to extract water from a nearby
river for irrigation of their crops to increase agricultural output.”

The project will use a “ram-pump” to lift water more than 200 feet without
the use of electricity. Engineers In Action, a nonprofit organization based in
Tulsa, is providing logistical and communications support for this project, and
will do the follow-up and training once the irrigation system is built.

Sixteen Missouri S&T students, one professional engineer and one faculty
advisor will leave Aug. 9 for an 11-day trip to Santiago, a community of
approximately 7,000 people in Honduras. The community currently has access to
fresh water for about six hours every two days. In March 2007, three EWB
students met and interviewed Santiago’s community leaders to determine how the
EWB student chapter could help. The EWB team plans to implement an additional
water storage tank, rainwater collection systems, and slow-sand-drip water
filtration systems.

“Not only do these young people improve the quality of life for impoverished
communities, they return with the realization that they have the ability and
the responsibility to contribute to the alleviation of human suffering,” adds

Patricia Hallier of Oak Grove, Mo., a sophomore in chemical engineering,
says the team has been designing and building the revamped water system since
last fall.

“There were challenges involved, but the positive outcomes of projects like
this can hardly be quantified,” Hallier says. “The members of the community
will benefit long-term from the clean water source, and we, as students, have
the unique opportunity to apply our education in an exciting and practical

The Missouri S&T EWB student chapter receives financial support from
General Motors, Schlumberger, Arco Construction, Fru-Con Construction, Missouri
S&T, the Missouri S&T Student Design and Experiential Learning Center,
Black and Veatch, George Butler Associates, and the Missouri S&T Academy of
Civil Engineers and the Academy of Mechanical Engineers.

Share this page

Posted by

On August 7, 2008. Posted in News