December 2013 Feature Story: Development Advisory Team
By Dustin Mix
One unique feature of E2E is its university research component. With this comes the involvement of both graduate (e.g. yours truly) and undergraduate students. Our undergrad team is rather large (last count I believe was over 20) and extremely diverse. We have engineering, architecture, political science, business, and many other majors. Involving the undergrads gives us valuable manpower, as well as fresh ideas, and gives the undergrads experience on a “real world” problem.
Because of the vast array of experiences, we are able to split the undergrads up into many different teams to attack all aspects of the project. I’d like to take some time to mention one such team, a product of a very important partner of E2E at the university.
Steve Reifenberg is the Executive Director of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame. I had the pleasure of taking the very first class he taught while I was in grad school; a class about international development, with a particular emphasis on the practice itself. During the class, we formed small teams and actually had to design an international development project, complete with an intervention, a place, and a budget. Since then, the class has changed a bit, and Prof. Reifenberg has actually brought organizations into the class to offer projects for the teams to work on over the course of the semester. After I took the class, we were fortunate enough to be one such organization and have partnered with the class for the past two years.
This spring, Prof. Reifenberg is offering a sequel to the class for those who have already taken the first installment. We are again involved, and have been assigned a team of three that have previously worked with us in some capacity. These three have all contributed to the project and we are really looking forward to see them dive a little deeper into other aspects of our work. This team will be looking specifically at the interaction between E2E’s work and the work of the newly minted Ministry of Housing in the Haitian government. It should be an interesting subject and E2E is looking forward to seeing what insights the team uncovers. I’ve included short bios and pictures on each below. I think most readers will agree, they are nothing but impressive, in both what they’ve already achieved, and in the attitude they have toward what awaits them. If E2E is able to continue to recruit students like this, combined with a great partner in Prof. Reifenberg, only good things are to come.
I am a junior Political Science major and Peace Studies minor. My time and experiences through Notre Dame have led me towards a strong belief in a need for social justice and human development. As a Kellogg International Scholar working on human rights and violence prevention, I have experience and skills in qualitative and quantitative analysis. I have worked with a poverty alleviation organization in Santiago, Chile in the education sector. I also have a strong, personal interest in development work in Haiti and the many projects that seek to help those in need after the earthquake. I am very enthusiastic about working with E2E again this semester researching the possibility of how this organization can influence and work with the Haitian housing policy. Through this experience I hope to better my skills in consulting, understand the politics of development and my own role in the international development field.
As a senior Civil Engineering major, I have been influenced by the immense need for engineering solutions in the developing world. I have experience working on development projects in various settings, including non-governmental, governmental, and academic sectors. In Guatemala, I worked with an NGO focused on housing and poverty alleviation through education, including immersion in a community in Antigua. At Notre Dame in collaboration with Harvard, I worked in a team to explore renewable energy policies to reach marginalized communities in the northern region of Chile. I am thrilled to work with E2E looking at public housing policy and taking ideas to scale, especially as a means of dignity and social justice.
As a fifth year Architecture major and International Development Studies minor, I have had the opportunity to study architecture while always looking for ways to apply this knowledge toward possible creative solutions to use in the developing world. My experiences over the past three summers of living, teaching, and researching in a rural village and then the UNESCO world heritage site of Stone town in Tanzania have allowed me learn how the built environment plays a role (both positive and negative) in the lives of people in these communities. I am very interested in continuing this research, focusing especially on the vernacular built environment which the community interacts with every day, most especially in their personal homes. Working with E2E again will be an exciting opportunity to learn about the process and implementation of a housing project, especially where architecture and engineering overlap with broader housing policy