To create a lasting impact, there must be a well-developed understanding of the problem at hand and appreciation for the potential outcomes. For example, when Washington University in St. Louis matched me with a generous donor and granted me a scholarship, the university appreciated my potential as a student and empowered me to create change. To pay that generosity forward and to appreciate my own opportunities, I have dedicated much of my time at school to serving others.
Engineers Without Borders has given me the opportunity to use the resources I have at Washington University to positively impact whole communities around the world. Through my work with Engineers Without Borders, I have been able to appreciate not only my own opportunities, but also how a similar appreciation can contribute to strong engineering projects.
Through multiple community partnerships, it has become clear to me that time invested in appreciating the insights of community leaders and detailed consideration of specific project parameters lead to the most thoughtful solutions. Recently, I returned from Uganda where I was able to network with a variety of organizations, government officials and community members. Developing these relationships early on will provide our new partnership incredible strength and an appreciation for strong local leadership. These connections will allow us to place more emphasis on specific local concerns and opinions, creating more sustainable and empowering change for our community partners.
How can we as engineers continue to appreciate our partners and the problems we are working to solve?