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2018 Student Experiences

From authentic cultural experiences to difficult hands on projects, students encounter various lifestyles and educational experiences through ETHOS projects. During the summer of 2018, students traveled to Chilumba, Malawi; Bihar, India; Bangalore, India; Auroville, India; Lima, Peru; Port Antonio, Jamaica; Kaseye, Malawi; La Paz, Bolivia; Durban, South Africa; Blue Rock Station, Philo, Ohio; and other places across the country and around the world. Several students served in Dayton as well. We hope you enjoy reading about some of their experiences and their projects during their immersions, which changed their perspective on engineering, the world and themselves.

Determined 2 Develop, Chilumba, Malawi

David, Mary Kate and Ben spent their summer in Chilumba, Malawi, working on two separate projects. David, a mechanical engineering major, worked with Determined to Develop (D2D) on the construction of a classroom for the Wasambo Boy’s High School and built a bread oven at the Maji Zuwa Resort. While there, David was able to complete major tasks within the classroom, and he was able to fully test the finished bread oven.

Mary Kate and Ben, education majors, were involved with D2D in a much different way. They wrote curriculums for the preschool and high school associated with D2D. Mary Kate also tutored middle school girls and high school boys who lived at Maji Zuwa. Ben also taught a computer class to middle schoolers as well as adults in the surrounding community.

SAAP-STAR Project Patna, Bihar, India

Kate and Shelly spent their summer in Patna, Bihar, India, working with Solar Alternatives and Associated Programmes (SAAP) on night solar cookers that would work when the sun is not at its peak. During their time in India, Kate and Shelly each came up with her own design and tested the design. The purpose of the project was to improve the design, function and efficiency of the Solar Thermal Adsorptive Refrigeration (STAR) system. Existing prototypes in Patna were unable to hold a sufficient vacuum or create any sufficient cooling effect. Through a redesign of previous prototypes and the utilization of copper components and soldering methods, an improved prototype was created. This prototype is capable of holding a significant vacuum and creating a cooling effect.

SELCO/REDS Marianist Bangalore, India

Ryan spent his summer in Bangalore, India, working on several different projects. As an electrical engineer, Ryan’s main project was to help utilize the Hybrid Ultracapacitor (HUC) devices alongside Mesha to help preserve battery life for solar PV systems, thus decreasing lifetime costs. His focus was on the analysis and improvement of the HUC solar system. The systems were implemented with two different battery types: lead acid as well as lithium ion battery integrations. Through data analysis of over 30 locations' inputs, several modifications were made to the existing systems to better capture the HUC’s characteristics and to confirm its correct performance. In addition, an efficiency test was implemented to analyze the efficiency of the Mesha HUC charge controller.

Min Vayu Auroville, India

During the summer of 2018, Nick and Jason traveled to Auroville, India, to work with Min Vayu, an organization that primarily deals with the development and implementation of wind turbines for irrigation and power consumption. UD’s team was tasked with many different projects regarding the 3D printer including calibrating the printer, constructing a cover for printer operation in all weather conditions, testing plastic extrusion with different recycled plastics and printer configurations, documenting the printer design in CAD and its operation in a user manual, and developing extruders for clay and cob. The completed printer will be capable of constructing homes from cob, a cheap and readily available materials.

Pontifical University Lima, Peru

Lauren and Kelly spent 10 weeks in Lima, Peru, working with Grupo de Apoyo al Sector Rural, an organization that focuses on scientific development, environmental conservation and appropriate technology transfer to farming communities. Their project included spreading STEAM education to children through the use of a Science Truck. The two students had different projects regarding this task. Lauren, a mechanical engineering major, was working with members of the organization to design and construct a rooftop solar panel mount that would power a flat screen TV, a laptop and small electronic devices and toys. Kelly, an environmental biology major, was tasked with developing a curriculum for the educational activities. She conducted research on Peruvian education standards and STEAM activities for each grade level.

CASE, Port Antonio, Jamaica

Cole and Chris spent their summer in Port Antonio, Jamaica, working on a solar dehydrator that is capable of drying breadfruit. This solar dehydrator would allow farmers and the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) to dry their breadfruit and produce breadfruit flour, which would help farmers increase their profit margin, since they would be able to preserve their crop instead of selling it at a low price. The two students partnered with (CASE) to produce a display for an upcoming agricultural fair. CASE, a government run college, provides students with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. The college is responsible for working with farmers in their surrounding communities, and by doing so, they infuse science and technology.

Change and Be Changed, Kaseye, Malawi

Kristi and Bailey spent 10 weeks in Kaseye, Malawi, working with Change and Be Changed on a roadway design project. The goal of Kristi and Bailey’s project was to do a topographical survey to get a better understanding of the existing roadway conditions in order to create a design that allows the people in the village to use the road year-round to get to the hospital and secondary school. The topographical survey was completed and preliminary design solutions for the roadway were discussed

Engineers in Action, La Paz, Bolivia

Alex and Derek spent their summer in La Paz, Bolivia, working with Fundación Ingenieros en Acción (FIEA), a USA/Bolivian NGO that works to improve the health and well-being of communities in Latin America to provide access to water and improve sanitation and infrastructure. These students helped design a water distribution system for Timusi, which is a rural community right outside La Paz. The ETHOS students surveyed the community for topographical information about the terrain and infrastructure of the community, took a consensus of the community members to understand the current water needs and access, took water samples to test for various parameters, and designed multiple alternatives for an improved water distribution system using EPAnet and AutoCAD Civil 3D.

RocketWorks, Durban, South Africa

Aedan and Nate spent their summer in Durban, South Africa, working with RocketWorks, a company that designs and sells fuel-efficient, clean-burning rocket stoves to NGO’s for distribution to communities in need. The ETHOS students worked on developing a prototype for a pressurized biomass cylinder. There were three areas of focus for the students that included: designing a latch assembly, which contained the pressurized vessel and enabled quick loading and unloading; automating the machine using solenoid valves and a PLC Controller; and ensuring that the machine was leak proof and free from moisture. The students were able to complete these tasks and conduct some testing on the prototype.

Blue Rock Station, Philo, Ohio

Carter spent an ETHOS Domestic Immersion at Blue Rock Station (BRS) where he started his experience by getting comfortable with the farm and helping wherever he was needed. He learned earth-building techniques and helped repair existing structures, assisted with farm animal chores, and helped run tiny house classes focusing on electrical and plumbing work. As the summer progressed, he started working on his main project, the solar shower. Constructed from recycled and earth materials, the solar shower was a simple system using the sun as a heating source for enjoyable showers in the warmer seasons. Carter used his hands to combine art and engineering into a structure that will be functional, and hopefully, bring inspiration to those who encounter it.

Rich Earth Institute, Brattleboro, Vermont
This past summer, James worked at Rich Earth Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont. Rich Earth Institute’s mission is to complete the food nutrient cycle through the means of urine diversion and collection. While working at Rich Earth Institute, James helped develop methods and experimental procedures for the institute while also assisting in research and field trials. When asked about his experience at his domestic immersion, James had this to say, “The domestic immersion project furthered my learning by being put in a small nonprofit where I was involved in all aspects of the institute. My experiences also helped shift my way of thinking and change my perspective when dealing with a problem and trying to find a solution. Plus, Vermont is beautiful, and Brattleboro is surrounded by lush green hills in the summer and has access to many different hiking locations.”
Homefull, Dayton, Ohio

Cameron spent a semester working at Homefull on an urban farm in the local Dayton community. Cameron worked with the farm manager doing different tasks such as weeding, harvesting, and packaging produce. He was also able to use his engineering skills to design and estimate flood management systems. When asked about his experience, Cameron stated, “I think this experience helped me become a more well-rounded person by exposing myself to the issues that are facing our world. There are problems that need to be addressed by combining the knowledge of all disciplines. My experience showed me that engineering can be used in so many way from drainage design to more efficient produce washing techniques. I was extremely proud to be a part of this program and I would highly recommend it to any engineer who wants to gain a fresh, new perspective.”


The ETHOS Center, Kelly Bohrer, Acting Director

Kettering Laboratories
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0212