I have always looked for a good challenge, to travel, and to be able to help other people.  With Engineers without Borders (EWB), I found a great outlet for all of these and more.  Engineers without Borders has been a life changing experience for me. My name is Ryan Hoff, and I am an intern at 8760 Engineering. My experience with Engineers without Borders of Missouri University of Science and Technology (EWB-S&T) has helped me in many aspects of my life, but I feel that for all the good that it does not enough people know about it. 
I have been involved with EWB-S&T for three years at Missouri S&T, formerly University of Missouri-Rolla.  Our chapter has four projects working in Bolivia (2), Guatemala, and Honduras.  We focus on providing sustainable engineering projects to improve the standard of living in developing countries.  Since I have been most involved in the Guatemala project, I will discuss this project the most. We work in Nahualate, Guatemala a village of 2200 people, who have requested for us to help them with their potable water project.  To accomplish this we will construct a 15,000 gallon water tower, 8 miles of PVC piping, a 430 ft. deep well, and a chlorine sanitation system.  All of the analysis and design are done by the student team and approved by professional engineers. The project began five years ago with a feasibility study.  The project continued with several assessment trips where the team surveyed the whole community, met with contractors, and worked with the community to gauge the community‚Äôs needs and wants.  The well was successfully completed (after the second try) in September 2012.  The team and I are returning this month to begin the construction of the distribution system.  We will focus on teaching the community on how to read and understand our designs, and we will teach proper construction techniques.  The community will be responsible for completing the pipe construction in our absence. We will also be teaching the Water Committee and community about the operation, maintenance, and management of their large system. EWB-USA focuses on not only providing a large capital project, but also being able to create a sustainable project.  EWB-S&T donates their time and the initial capital cost to the community, but the community will be responsible for paying for running costs such as electricity cost and replacement parts.  
This is just one project of one chapter of EWB-USA. Engineers without Borders-USA has over 250 student and professional chapters across the United States. Missouri has five student chapters and two professional chapters.   
After I return from my trip, I will go into greater detail of how EWB has helped me on both the professional and personal level.  I will discuss a few lessons I learned that have applied to work I have done at 8760 Engineering.  I may also tell a few good stories about my trip, and what I have learned from living in a developing country.  Until then, you can check out the links below, look at the pictures below, or send me an email if you have any questions.
For more information you can see some of the following links:
Article Author: Ryan Hoff