UWM Engineering Students Bring Water to People’s Homes for the First Time

August 28, 2017

Marissa Jablonski helped found UWM’s student chapter of Engineers Without Borders in 2006, during her first semester as a master’s student at the College of Engineering & Applied Science. Since then, she has earned both her master’s and PhD in civil/environmental engineering at UWM and has continued to serve as a mentor, coordinating annual trips to Guatemala. She is also an associate researcher and instructor in UWM’s Sustainable Peacebuilding Master’s Program.

Every January, Jablonski and a group of 10 engineering students spend two weeks in Guatemala working with local nonprofit group ACCMARI to build water systems in villages ravaged by civil war. While there, the students also spend time identifying their next project and then work throughout the year to develop a detailed plan of what they will accomplish the following January.

Jablonski says, “Our students are truly becoming global engineers. Working on the side of a mountain, they learn to be resourceful in solving problems. They also broaden their world view while getting hands-on work experience, and employers appreciate that.”

Bill Berezowitz, vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare Systems, has hired several of these students over the years and is impressed with their work ethic. “We have been amazed and impressed by the global awareness and caring our young people exhibit,” says Bill. “If we can give them a modest financial lift to realize their dreams, who would not want to do that?”