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5 questions with CJ Levy ’23

5 questions with CJ Levy ’23

Thomas M. Columbus January 03, 2023
A mechanical engineering technology major, Levy is from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. He was planning to spend last summer in Dayton. But...
CJ Levy
CJ Levy ’23

1 - We hear summer took you from Dayton to a garden in South Carolina. How did that come about? I was looking online for an internship or co-op. Then I saw Ethos (UD School of Engineering’s partnership program with community-based programs). As an Eagle Scout, I had created a movie screen for a community pool and painted games on a patio (checkers, hopscotch, tic-tac-toe). I saw Ethos as another opportunity to give back to the community.

2 - What was the garden project? Three of us from UD each led a project in Charleston, South Carolina, and worked on the other two. I led a project that involved the watering system for a garden that grows food for the local community. There were about a dozen separate beds watered by hoses that allowed for watering only one bed at a time. We used Auto-CAD (a design and drafting software application) to split the garden into four zones, each of which could be watered at one time. So that was a 75% savings in time.

3 - And the other efforts? We implemented the design of an Ethos group before us for a memorial for slaves from a rice plantation. They are buried in a cemetery that’s now generally inaccessible to the community. So the memorial gives the local Gullah people a place to pay respects. The third project was finding a replacement for a very old, inefficient pump used to convey seawater for experiments at the University of South Carolina Baruch Marine Field Laboratory, whose director, Bill Strosnider ’03, had participated in an Ethos program in Guatemala. We searched and found the 70-year-old original specs; they weren’t for the old pump, which turned out to have been designed for indoor use, a reason for its inefficiency.

4 - So three big projects? And some smaller ones. Another community garden. A proposal for funding from the city for an irrigation system. A gutter system to keep rain out of a kitchen at Kidogo Farms, which is a homestead created by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture to reintroduce farming in the area.

5 - Did the three of you live together near your work? We lived with seven other students in a four-bedroom building with a large kitchen. Students were from schools ranging from South Carolina to Iowa. One was from another UD — the University of Delaware. We helped them on some projects, sorting plants and such; most were environmental science majors. In terms of travel time, Kidogo Farms was about 30 minutes. The marine lab was only about five minutes, but through the marsh over a dirt road. My car didn’t like it; I’ve spent $1,000 to get the suspension fixed.

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