Three College of Engineering and Computing students received the 2017 Spring/Summer Magellan scholarship from the university’s Office for Undergraduate Research for their project to improve the water supply to a small village in Ecuador.
Entitled “Water Purification and Pipeline Reparation Design for the El Cedro Water Supply Project,” students Tyler Brant (freshman, electrical engineering), Spencer Martin (senior, electrical engineering), Andrew Re (sophomore, mechanical engineering), and William Rivers (sophomore, biochemistry and molecular biology, College of Arts and Sciences) are using their Magellan scholarship to fund a trip to the South American country to repair a pipeline that is the only source of drinkable water for the area.
Engineers Without Borders has given me the opportunity I was looking for to make a difference.
The students will analyze the pipeline and develop new designs to improve sustainability, efficiency, and water quality of the system.
“Our team is testing designs and methods we came up with, and teaching the local residents how they can implement some of these designs themselves,” says Tyler Brant, Magellan Scholar. “The trip will take about one to two weeks, but we hope to help improve life in this part of Ecuador.”
All scholars are a part of USC’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWC), a non-profit organization that aims to help developing countries by creating and installing sustainable engineering projects.
In 2011, EWC began its first project in Ecuador by installing a pipeline that provides La Victoria, Ecuador, safe drinking water. The Mayor of La Victoria reached out to EWC and explained that a nearby town, El Cedro, is in dire need of help because the residents receive water from a 20-year-old pipe that had degraded and decreased structural integrity and safety of the water.
The Magellan Scholars focused their project on helping this small town and surrounding areas that will rely on the pipeline as their primary source for drinking, bathing and other necessary activities.
“Engineers Without Borders has given me the opportunity I was looking for to make a difference,” Brant says. “I quickly joined in the belief that this organization will not only allow me to help others but teach me how to present my ideas in an environment where they will solve real-world problems.”