More about my E4C experience

From May until September I worked as a part-time research fellow for Engineering for Change. It was a busy season because I did the work in addition to my regular job and so was putting in 50-60 hour workweeks. Despite the hard work I am glad that I had this experience. The E4C work was different and interesting, and so broke up my workweek with a new and exciting challenge. I enjoyed learning about various poverty alleviating products and building methods being implemented around the world. I think the most interesting ones I researched were earth bag construction, HyPar thin shell concrete roofs, earthen floors, compressed earth blocks, and modular roof panels for slum house upgrading. Over the course of the fellowship I researched 34 products, filling out or cleaning up a report for each one, that will eventually be added to E4C’s growing Solutions Library. My job also involved contacting and interviewing designers and manufacturers of the products if we could not find enough information online. Although many people didn’t respond to my inquiries, many surprisingly did. I learned that it never hurts to send a reminder or make a phone call because people may want to contribute but just might have busy schedules. I also prepared a trend analysis for alternative building materials for which I interviewed expert practitioners working with a selection of materials that included earth building, bamboo, compressed earth blocks, earth bags, and the reuse of industrial waste. It was inspiring to see what people are working on around the world to solve the problem of affordable quality housing.

The final contribution I made was writing two articles for the E4C media platform, one of which is published and the other coming soon. The first one is called Easing Land Conflict in DRC: An Introduction to Open Source Mapping Tools. It was great to have an avenue to share some of my mapping research experience with a broader community. On September 15th E4C held a closing design charette where all of the fellows contributed feedback both from the experience of the fellowship and thoughts on ways to improve the Solutions Library as a whole. All of my encounters with the other research fellows beyond the kick-off session were on weekly Google Hangout video calls. The other fellows are equally passionate about global development from their respective experience, and I hope I will be able to stay in touch with them. I will get one last opportunity to connect with more people within the E4C network at an upcoming event called Impact Engineered which will celebrate and promote the work being done in the domain of engineering for global development. Research Fellows who live nearby were invited to attend and I am glad that Toronto isn’t so far from New York! It has been strange to be done with the fellowship because my week is no longer broken up by a different type of work. I have moved onto my next task which is to study for my final exams for licensure as an architect that I will be taking next month! It also feels strange to be coming to the culmination of ten years of combined study and work! It is an exciting time and I am thankful to God for bringing me to this point.

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