Student Organization Off to Guatemala

JORDYN MESKAN | PHOTO COURTESY

Student organization, Engineers Without Borders, are travelling to begin their project of building a community center in Las Tablitas, Guatemala, in hopes of having medical teams come in to help within the center once built.

The international organization expands across all states of over 300 chapters where they partner with other countries around the globe to help their community. Of the chapters is NDSU’s current organization which consists of about 35-40 people.

Since 2011, this group has continued to work towards the end product in Guatemala, as people continue to join throughout the years.

Of the 35-40 people, eight of them, including their professional mentor, are travelling to Guatemala for ten days starting May 14. This will be used to start phase one of their plans, which consists of the demolition of the current building.

Chapter President, Jordyn Meskan, has been a part of the journey since her freshman year and explained how it gives real experience for students to apply their knowledge from classes rather than a project you are graded on.

To oversee projects the adviser is Achintya Bezbaruah. They have separate teams to focus on specific parts of the building according to their knowledge and interest. For the waters and sanitary team, Joel Paulsen helped mentor them to give them advice and more information about that area. He is accompanying the trip to resolve any problems that may occur.

The other two mentors are engineers at KLJ, an engineering company located in Bismarck, Christopher Mattison and Cassie McNames.

Among the travelers are David Barragan, Dillon Ekholm, Kyle Hornbacher, Tom Losik, Jordyn Meskan, Paige Meskan, Kaitlind Roberts, and professional mentor, Joel Paulsen.

Roberts and Hornbacher both joined this past year in hopes of gaining experience. They explained how it gave them that “real world” aspect instead of studying for tests. It also helps with “obtaining full time jobs,” Hornbacher explained. It gives students an extra extracurricular to add to their resume, plus it is an actual product that they can show to future employers explaining how they helped build a community center in another country.

Meskan explained that most of the difficulties they encountered during the project was their lack of experience, but their guideline and professors helped compensate any knowledge they were lacking.

Another adaptation they endured was the guidelines, U.S. standards is different than Guatemala standards. Mostly they built the project with U.S. standards and plan to accommodate any differences once they get to Guatemala.

With this experience, members wanted to explain that Engineers Without Borders is open to any major. Although the name includes “engineers,” there are many other aspects to the project, and that information can be found anywhere for non-engineers.

People are continuously joining the group and helping with the project, even if they weren’t there from the beginning they helped create this idea/building itself.

Phase two of the project will be the building the structure of the center is being planned to occur in December 2018.

To support their project, they have a donation page, where they are trying to raise a total of $42,000, but hope for $16,000 for phase one.

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