Engineers Without Borders Returns to Ethiopia

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Kathleen Hendrick

In January 2011, the UM Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Ethiopia project team returned to the town of Addis Alem to assess the feasibility of a sustainable stream-crossing project.

Each year, Addis Alem has a period of heavy rainfall between the months of June and August that contributes to the flooding of their local stream. Currently, the bridges and culverts in place do not survive annual flooding.

On the trip, the team identified a project site to build a permanent crossing that would accommodate both pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The site serves as a passageway to link the urban population with the rural population and provide greater access to the local market, where most economic activity occurs within the town.

The assessment team performed a full site survey, including a detailed topographical survey, in preparation for design work. The project team anticipates that they will return to implement their design in January 2012.

Kathleen Hendrick, project leader for the EWB Ethiopia team, recently won one of 10 CH2M Hill EWB-USA Scholarships in recognition of her academic excellence and contributions to the UM chapter of EWB. In addition to a $5,000 prize for academic expenses, EWB travel costs, or attendance to an EWB-USA conference, the scholarship also provides a 10-week internship opportunity with engineering firm CH2M Hill.

Hendrick has been involved with EWB since the fall of 2008. In January 2010 she traveled to Addis Alem for the first time to participate in the implementation of a youth center project. She worked on a subgroup that designed the truss roof structure for the buildings. Following the completion of the project, she became the project leader for the second phase of the program and traveled back with the team last month.

Outside of EWB, Hendrick is involved in the the University Honors Program and the Quality Enhancement Systems and Teams Honors Fellows Program at UM. She is a Clark School Student Ambassador and a volunteer tutor. She will graduate in May 2012.

Published February 17, 2011