Clemson engineering students help community in Nicaragua
By Raquel Cobb
CLEMSON — Clemson University’s Engineers Abroad recently traveled to Nicaragua to construct community buildings for the children in the community of La Pintada.
The Creative Inquiry team built an official baseball field for the community that included a new fence, benches and real bases. Baseball is the primary community activity for children in the area.
The Engineers Abroad also began the construction of a new school building. With limited resources, the group completed the foundation of the school, including leveling the area, excavating for the footers, building barriers, cutting and drilling in rebar and mixing concrete.
During the trip, the group also donated school supplies and taught an engineering lesson with the schoolchildren using toothpicks and marshmallows.
“This trip put things in perspective and really made me grateful for the opportunities available in the states,” said participant Ross Beppler, a sophomore electrical engineering major from Johns Creek, Ga. “The biggest thing I took away is the incredible work ethic of the people there and their gratefulness for our help and resources. It’s an incredible feeling to know that you have changed someone’s life.”
Engineers Abroad is a Creative Inquiry team that has several projects under way domestically and internationally. Participants included Beppler; Taylor Wells, a junior industrial engineering major from Columbia; Matt Kofoed, a junior bioengineering major from Simpsonville; Kristen Doolittle, a junior civil engineering major from Matthews, N.C.; Chris Hapstack, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Greenville; Meg O’Sell, a freshman language and international health major from Pittsburgh; and Elizabeth O’Sell, a senior civil engineering major from Pittsburgh.
The group plans to return to Nicaragua this summer to complete construction of the school and implement some water purification and irrigation projects.
Creative Inquiry is a unique program that gives Clemson University undergraduate students the opportunity to work on research projects that span disciplines and multiple semesters. Students work in teams with faculty mentors, take ownership of their projects and take the risks necessary to solve problems and get answers. Creative Inquiry participants develop critical thinking skills, learn to solve problems and hone their communication and presentation skills. For more information, go to www.clemson.edu/ci.