Tag Archives: DePauw

Week 7

Finishing off the seventh week of my internship!

I don’t really know what to write about this week.

I started off the week researching the TSA’s policy on chemicals in checked baggage. We’re planning on printing field test kits, pathoscreen, and we wanted to bring them to Panama ing our checked baggage; however, we were concerned the TSA would take them away, as they’re little plastic pouches of white powder. After contacting airlines, the TSA, and the Office for Hazardous Materials Safety, it looks like the pouches will be fine to transport on the airplane as long as we keep the safety sheet with it. Now I need to check custom’s policies and determine if we’ll have any problems there.

Now I’m focusing my research on well drilling, and specifically well drilling in Panama. I will be creating an evaluation form to decide where a well should go (physical features, assessing aquifers), and what the questions to consider are. I will research drilling close to the shoreline: what restrictions we have, how far away we should go, etc, and if there are any geologic & topographic maps of the Ngobe Bugle comarca or the Bisira township specifically, and Las Lajas (to get an idea of aquifers/surface features). Right now I’m in the preliminary stages of the research; familiarizing myself with the basics and terminology, etc. More on this next week!
In other news, the article I submitted to the Journal of Water and Health has been assigned a manuscript number and is under review. Hopefully I will hear more soon.

Yesterday, Rachael and Josh went to Indianapolis to have an important meeting with Juan. I wanted to go, but I couldn’t get off work at Evangeline’s, so unfortunately, I could not tag along. Juan is our main contact in Panama. He has a church in David, and often travels to the comarca. Working with and having a good relationship with Juan and David’s Well is essential, at this point in time, to the success of our projects in Panama. The meeting went really well! We got the go ahead for our trip in August. I don’t have any more details yet, but that means we can start booking flights and arranging transportation, and planning the trip in detail!

A lot of really exciting stuff is happening with Water for Panama. Unfortunately, I cannot share most of it with you because the information is extremely confidential or it’s not official yet. So, look out we’ll have some very exciting announcements in the near future.

Our bike fundraising campaign is going extremely well. We are only $150 away from our goal of raising $1,000! We’re continuing training, as the ride is only three weeks away.
Link to the fundraiser: https://www.crowdrise.com/BikeforCleanWater

Rachael got a kitten. She brought him to the office monday because he cries if you leave him alone.

Rachael got a kitten. She brought him to the office monday because he cries if you leave him alone.

His name is Toulouse, and he is crazy adorable. Just look at that little bow.

His name is Toulouse, and he is crazy adorable. Just look at that little bow.

Rachael showing off our Sawyer hollow fiber membrane filter

Rachael showing off our Sawyer hollow fiber membrane filter

Me, enjoying some of the awesome filtered water

Me, enjoying some of the awesome filtered water

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Week 4

Part 1: Reflection

Having an internship is like you’re learning to ride a bike and you’ve taken the training wheels off, but your dad is still holding on to the back of your seat to make sure you don’t fall on your face. You’ve got the adult career, you’re working with people who have the same goals and interests as you, and you’ve got your own house. You do all the little pedantic adult things that you don’t dream about when you imagine being on your own; You deal with the tediousness of grocery shopping, having a landlord, rush hour traffic, paying bills, etc. At the same time, however, you experience highs you never imagined; successfully being able to feed yourself for an extended period of time without anyone else helping you is surprisingly fulfilling. Creating a graph of data you researched, compiled and analyzed is a personal achievement whose unique high cannot be achieved artificially by completing assignments in a classroom.

Working an internship gives you a unique window into the world beyond school, yet you aren’t being thrown to the sharks. If you hate your job, if you find it tedious, uninteresting, unethical, or humiliating, you aren’t stuck with it; you can fall gracefully back into the gentle safety net created by your parents and education. It doesn’t matter if you love the experience you have, or if you decide on the 3rd day that having this career would send you down a rabbit hole of depression and existential crises because either way you’re going back to school at the end of the summer. The experience will either inspire you to work harder for what you already want, or will help you to realize the path you’re on now is not where you want to end up. Either way you come out smarter, and more in touch with what whom you are, what you want, and what you need in order to get there. Basically an internship can only help you in your pursuit of a career that you can find fulfilling after school.

Luckily, I couldn’t be happier with the experience I am having at Water for Panama. This experience has helped me to realize that I really do have a passion for data and research. In the classroom, it is easy to forget the passion that sparked you to pursue the path in the first place. Getting to work with data and information that has real life implications, that will influence policy and people’s lives, help make the world better, has reinvigorated my appetite for research, for data, for numbers and statistics.

I have spent the last two weeks working on a graph that represents a comprehensive overview of the detriments and advantages of all viable water purification methods. This project has required me to do lots of research, read copious articles, and make countless charts. I had to learn how an inline PVC chlorinator works, and how to calculate the contact time of a system. I learned about the chemistry of flocculants. I discovered the intricacies that actually go in to having “clean water”. I am in love with this graph now. I want to carry around a print out of the graph and show it to everyone. Not only am I effecting the world in a positive, productive, and lasting way, but I’m also doing it in a way that I find fulfilling and exciting. This experience is helping me to clarify and focus the hazy picture I have of where I’ll be in 5 years.

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This is the graph I’ve been working on.


Part 2: Summary

Okay, now I’m going to be a lot less introspective and insightful, and just give an overview of what I’ve been up to. This week has been a lot like the last two in that I’ve just been working on my graphs and tables. I finally finished the graph, so right now I’m working on compiling the citations, and then I’ll start writing a full report on it, which Water for Panama can use it on their website and I can try to get it published by someone.

This week we ordered one of the filters that won in my metrics, the MVP filter from Waves for Water. We’ll get the filter on Monday, and then we can test it out and play around with it!IMG_1292

I realized I haven’t put in a lot about the city, and what I’ve been doing outside of my office hours, so here are some pictures of the city etc.




This is an abandoned church that I pass every day on my way to work.



This is Evangeline’s where I waitress a couple of nights a week.


Cafe Osage is a combination cafe and plant nursery. Rachael and I had brunch there last weekend, and picked up some plants for our apartment!


Trinity is a church across the street from TechArtista with a cute little courtyard.


The first building is the entrance to TechArtista. The building with the red detailing and umbrellas is Evangeline’s, so my jobs are neighbors.


These are the plants I’m growing on the porch of my apartment.


On the job at Evangeline’s


Epiphytes! I made the holders myself, and I bought the plants form Cafe Osage


I pass the arch every day on my way to work!

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Week 2 + Week 3

I would like to open this post by saying I could not be happier with the experiences I am having not only at Water for Panama, but at TechArtista, and the city surrounding us. Being involved in such a small ecosystem of people my age who are working to create new ideas, and better the community is an invaluable experience that will benefit me infinitely in the future.

For the last two weeks I have been working to create spread sheets that offer a comprehensive overview of specific water purification systems, as well as general techniques for household purification. I recently finished these spread sheets after lots of articles, websites, and videos. Now that these spread sheets are as complete as current scientific data can allow them to be I am working to create a metrics system that will allow us to accurately determine the merits of each general system, and determine which method deserves to be focused on as the organization moves forward. Creating this metrics system is more challenging than I thought. I have to make sure the differences in the systems don’t give one system an advantage when none is deserved. For example, the speed of the flow rate is taken into consideration in my metrics system; however, not all systems have a flow rate (sedimentation, chlorination, aeration, etc). Therefore, I need to be able to rank their “flow rate” in a way that doesn’t give systems that have a flow an advantage, as one system may have a flow rate higher than 0, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it generates clean water faster than a method that does not have a flow rate. I hadn’t considered these nuances when I started the system, so now I will have to go back through and change the system I created.

I’m excited to finish these metrics, and complete an accurate representation of the merits of the different systems, as Rachael and I have discussed turning this research into a scientific article, which I would be the main author of. We are also considering using the data we will collect when we travel to Panama in August to create another scientific article. I don’t know if we will be able to get these published, but I am excited at the chance to write a lab report about data that didn’t come from a class lab.

This last week we launched our summer fundraising campaign. Using Lifestraw community systems we can bring clean water to 1 student for 1 year for just 25 cents. This statistic is the basis of our campaign, encouraging people that even giving a little means a lot. As a part of this campaign we are launching a “Bike for Clean Water” project. We are encouraging people to donate money, and in August I and some other WFP employees and friends will bike 139 miles from St Charles MO to Columbia MO. I am extremely excited about this prospect. As I wrote in the fundraiser description on CrowdRise “This bike ride will mirror the endurance that millions of people must have in their daily struggle for clean water. In donating our time, effort, and energy, we hope to create a better understanding of the urgency of the water crisis. We undertake this battle in the hopes they soon won’t have to.” 100% of the money from the bike ride will go to buying water purification systems to be implemented in communities in Panama.

Here’s a link to the fundraising campaign in case anyone who reads this wants to donate:


And here are some pictures I took in the last two weeks:


Here’s the board room where we had a meeting with John, an engineer that knows a crazy amount about water purification systems. He helped us plan out some possible systems, and gave us advice about what kind of tests we should do on the water to determine what kinds of systems we need.


Rachael and I meet with Eric to start planning a fundraising event for WFP in August. In addition to running TechArtista, Eric has an event planning business, Bazaar Boy.


Rachael and I decided to work from the board room one afternoon for some more natural light, and a change of scenery. It doesn’t hurt that this room also has amazing speakers.


Remy decided he wanted to help us work


Wednesday morning the art gallery next door had a meet and greet. A group of TechArtista people went, and we mingled with some of the other professionals in the area among some stellar art. I meet a lot of interesting people, including a web designer who offered to help make some videos for WFP!


Josh, our Chief Financial Officer, came in and we had a meeting about our goals, concerns, and hopes for the next couple of months.

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