I am currently a second-year student studying integrated mechanical and electrical engineering at the University of Bath. When I was younger, my dream had always been to become a medical doctor, as a result of wanting to help others. But after volunteering in Nepalese hospitals where I shadowed the doctors, it became evident to me that the solutions were too temporary, and more could be done through engineering. After realising this I researched ways to help others through engineering, which is when I came across Engineers Without Borders.
I have lived and travelled in the Middle East and witnessed first-hand the problems in these countries and wanted to use my skills to help those in need. Joining Engineers Without Borders has been my vision since the age of 17, I even wrote about it in my personal statement when applying for university!
Currently within the Bath Chapter, we are focusing on encouraging our members to think of alternative and simple solutions to problems, whilst considering the restraints and strengths of the location for a project, which is sometimes ignored in design modules at university. We have found the best way to do this is to interact with people from varied backgrounds and different educational experience, which is why we encourage all subjects to join our society. This means when we carry out projects throughout the year, such as a water sensor retrieval project based in Colima Mexico, problems that may pass by an engineer might be pointed out by an international development student, for example. To support this, we are planning on doing the Designathon challenge set out by Engineers Without Borders UK and would like to collaborate with multiple universities to help students gain experience working with complete strangers from diverse backgrounds.
Over the summer our Chapter committee was lucky enough to be a part of the Global Grand Challenges Summit.
It was actually persistence and a stroke of luck that got us invited after calling and emailing a few people at the Royal Academy of Engineering. The summit really opened my eyes after hearing different people’s perspectives when tackling a challenge. This was especially insightful after listening to a student from China describe issues in their home that I was completely oblivious to. Unfortunately, as this challenge only occurs every two years, we will not be able to go in 2020, but I hope that our future members will attend.
By the end of the year, if our Chapter has designed just one project that impacts people’s lives positively, it will be a success. My longer-term hopes for the Chapter would be completing two design projects, running an after school club, reaching six schools through our outreach program and completing a large scale Designathon, while keeping in top of our studies! I am optimistic for the year to come and hope that everything goes smoothly.