Three new volunteers join our research and technology development team

Caminos de Agua’s research and technology development team (tech team) just got bigger!

From left to right: Aaron Krupp (Research and Technology Development Coordinator), Sarah Hartman, Fernanda Arce, Melissa Landman.

From left to right: Aaron Krupp (Research and Technology Development Coordinator), Sarah Hartman, Fernanda Arce, Melissa Landman.

The Tech Team carries out the research to improve our current technologies as well as design new technologies based on the needs of the communities in our watershed. The research can be tedious – our biochar removal experiments often require 24-hour attention for example – but are solutions that ignite scientists’ and engineers’ imagination and creativity.

Recently, we welcomed three new volunteers.

Sarah Hartman (Delaware, USA) recently finished her undergrad studies in Environmental Engineering (University of Delaware) with a focus on water resources and quality. She reached out to Caminos de Agua as a opportunity to gain experience with a water non-profit. Caminos de Agua’s dual focus on creating low-cost technologies and community organizing appealed to her. She is eager to learn as much as possible about the technical side of low-cost water treatment and rainwater harvesting in the context of arid environments. Sarah will be working  on the development of a filter media to remove arsenic and fluoride. Sarah will spend most of her time in our lab doing renditions of experiments to optimitize water treatment materiales and processes that use bone char. Sarah hopes to also work in the field to make her project feel more tangible. She shares, “I’ve felt completely welcomed into Caminos de Agua. The first weeks have been exciting and filled with a mixture of site visits and lab work. I am learning a lot about San Miguel de Allende and its water history.”

Melissa Landman also graduated from the University of Delaware. She majored in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Civil Engineering. Originally from Bedford, Massachusetts, USA, Melissa has long been interested in working internationally. Her choice to become a volunteer for Caminos de Agua is grounded by her passion for water issues and technologies. Melissa will mostly be focused on mechanical projects. Currently she is working to improve the existing rainwater harvesting cistern design by prototyping a water depth sensor. After the prototyping phase is complete, Melissa will take the design out into the field to monitor community response. Melissa describes her first weeks as incredible. “I have already learned so much about the complexities of the water issues facing the region. It has been great meeting all of the people working for Caminos de Agua, as they are all passionate about the cause and the work that they do.”

Both Sarah and Melissa join Caminos de Agua for nine months.

Fernanda Arce, originally from Durango, joined our team just a week after Melissa and Sarah. She studied Civil Engineering at Instituto Tecnológico de Durango. Fernanda is working on a joint project with Casilda Barajas and our ceramic water filter team to potentialize our ceramic water filters. Planned changes in the design will make it easier to connect our ceramic water filter to any system, so that they can be more readily used in different situations. Fernanda shares why she chose to work with us: “I found it amazing what Caminos is doing. They are not just trying to solve the lack of water or the health problem related to water; they are training and getting the communities conscious about the serious problem that this represents.”  Fernanda will be with us for three months.

We are happy to welcome these three new members to our team, though sad as it is nearly time to say farewell to Simona Dossi, our Engineers without Borders-UK placement. Simona is wrapping up a six-month placement. Read more about her research results soon!

Jenn Ungemach