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Dayton Engineer

How ETHOS Impacted my Career Decisions

By William Strosnider, PhD

As a junior mechanical engineering student at UD back in 2002, I was having trouble seeing where my studies were taking me.  I then heard about the ETHOS program and thought I'd give it a shot, not knowing that it would change the trajectory of the rest of my life.  In Nicaragua I served with Grupo Fenix, an organization that  focused on delivering solar power to the rural poor, and Proleña, whose mission was to deliver better wood stove cooking options to the impoverished. The experience was so meaningful that I did another summer ETHOS experience the following year, 2003, for Proleña as they grew into Bolivia. 

My ETHOS experiences showed me what I could really do with my coursework. Seeing how engineering could be used to help the poorest among us and the environments they rely upon, I saw where I needed to take my career.  After UD, I went to graduate school to become an ecological engineer to do just that. During my PhD study, I helped on multiple international development projects and returned to Bolivia to lead an effort to restore water quality in a high altitude desert impacted by mining. 

Having been transformed by my ETHOS experience, after earning my PhD I was happy to help set up a partnership between UD ETHOS and the Saint Francis University environmental engineering program. The inaugural set of students that served had tremendous experiences. One even served Grupo Fenix, the very same NGO that I served years ago as a junior ETHOS-er!  Now, as the new director of the Marine Field Laboratory at the University of South Carolina I am hoping to find new ways to continue to interact with the ETHOS program while serving the society and environment upon which we all rely.

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