UGC: Underclassmen Giving Campaign
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Summer 2014
Feyza Haskaraman ’15 and Nihala Thanikkal ’16 were awarded PSC Expedition Grants during the summer of 2014 thanks to student giving and votes! Learn more about their amazing projects and what they achieved below.
Feyza Haskaraman ’15 Innovative Low-cost Curriculum to Reshape the Future
Ulongwe, Malawi
During the summer of 2014, Feyza Haskaraman worked in Ulongwe, a small town in the Balaka district of Malawi. Her project focused on improving science and leadership education in Ulongwe’s Namalomba Community Secondary School and empowering students to solve problems that are specific to their own community. Feyza designed a curriculum for an afterschool class that included leadership, science, and engineering. One of the most successful workshops was building a flashlight with locally recycled materials, which showed the principles of electricity like voltage, power, and current, and addressed one of fundamental problems in Malawi, the lack of electricity and light. Students loved this project because they learned how to fix a problem on their own using everyday materials. Feyza also aimed to empower girls through science education and leadership skills. Her project will continue through the local student leaders she appointed and will supervise remotely. One of the biggest lessons Feyza learned from her experience in Malawi, was that “there is no limit to what you can give to a community. Every day presents a different opportunity.”
Nihala Thanikkal ’16
Akwaaba: Say Hello to Dry Season Irrigation Ghana
Supported by an expedition grant, Nihala Thanikkal interned this summer in Ghana at MoringaConnect, a company that processes moringa seeds into a natural oil used in cosmetics worldwide. MoringaConnect was founded by MIT alum Kwami Williams ’12 and empowers small farmers by processing their seeds and selling the oil across the globe. However, moringa seed farmers face severe drought during the dry season. Nihala, joined by Holly Josephs ’15, worked with Rick Schuhmann in D-lab during the spring semester to develop an affordable and simple tank that smallholder farmers could build and use on their own. Over the summer, Nihalla and Holly worked with the local community in Ghana to design and construct eight rainwater-harvesting tanks and laid out almost a 1000 feet of drip tape. They worked with women who were just starting their farms as well as more established farmers, equipping them with the capability to build their own irrigation systems. Nihala describes her time in Ghana as a “transformative experience” that laid the foundation for her pursuit of international development.
IAP 2014
Keeley Erhardt ’17 and Yooni Kim ’15 were awarded PSC Expedition Grants over IAP 2014 thanks to student giving and votes!. Learn more about their amazing projects and what they achieved in just one month below.
Keeley Erhardt ’17
¡Reciclemos! A Recycling Initiative
San Ignacio de Velasco, Bolivia
An Expedition Grant enabled Keeley to travel to San Ignancio de Velasco, Bolivia, to begin developing a recycling initiative. In San Ignacio, the community’s landfill is at capacity, public garbage cans are scarce, and loose trash can be found littering most streets. Keeley began by learning about the recycling process and visiting reprocessing plants. She also surveyed residents to get a sense of the amount of waste they generate, how they dispose of it, and how they perceive recycling. Keeley’s experience culminated with implementing a pilot recycling program in one neighborhood. Based on the success of the pilot, Keeley and her student peers see the potential of their long-term goal – comprehensive, citywide waste management/recycling collection and education.
Yooni Kim ’15
Sustainable Computer Literacy for HIV/AIDS Clinics
Kara, Togo
With support from an Expedition Grant, Yooni traveled to Kara, Togo, to partner with the nonprofit Hope Through Health at an HIV/AIDS clinic in Kara, Togo. The clinic works to improve the lives of the more than 2,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Northern Togo. Yooni worked with the main clinic and its satellites to provide computer literacy training for its staff so they can transition from paper to electronic medical records. Over IAP, Yooni trained staff at all clinic sites, including two TAs who will sustain the staff training program. With her French skills, she assisted in writing comprehensive manuals on using laptops and Microsoft Office, and with her MIT GlobeMed student peers, she brought 18 laptops, two printers, and a scanner to the clinic. When complete, this transition to electronic medical records will significantly improve the clinic’s efficiency and standard of patient care.
Since October 2006, the UGC has raised funding for PSC Expedition Grants to send MIT students around the world to implement their service projects. Past projects have ranged from an AIDS Awareness campaign in China to designing highly visible back-packs for school children in Ghana to avoid traffic injuries. Check out more of the 58 Expedition Grant projects the UGC has funded since 2006 by browsing the galleries below.