Other people go on vacations. Wayne Chang visits war zones.
“I haven’t taken a vacation in five years,” says the civil engineer with a passion for projects that give people access to services he believes are basic human rights. “I joke that I take my vacation in the latest war zone. And I’m grateful they let me do this.”
Fewer than five months after Russia invaded Ukraine, escalating the Russo-Ukrainian War, Chang (’10 Civ. Eng.) traveled to the embattled country, the second-largest in Europe, to help local officials rebuild infrastructure struck by heavy artillery. He spent three months in Ukraine as a water, sanitation, and … » More …
What started as a summer teaching job for Andrew Stephenson evolved into plans to build a kindergarten for underprivileged children in Saint-Louis, Senegal.
Stephenson, a senior studying civil engineering at Washington State University, says he fell in love with the area and its people after he taught English there in 2011 through a British volunteering organization called Projects Abroad.
“I’ve never seen people so excited to learn,” Stephenson says.
The kindergarten project, Foundations for Senegal, began when Stephenson reached out to Fina Senghor, a native of Senegal and a Projects Abroad deputy director, in 2016 to see how he could help Saint-Louis.
Senghor … » More …
On the south end of Puget Sound, where I lived for a number of years, water surrounds Olympia: Black Lake, Budd Bay, Capitol Lake, inlets, rivers, and creeks. It’s part of the picturesque scenery that I enjoyed daily, until I saw a half-submerged SUV at an intersection. The storms of 2007 flooded some streets, not to mention covering I-5 just south in Centralia. Water had become an unexpected hazard.
We can expect even more heavy storms and major floods, especially in the Midwest and Northeast, as the climate changes. Floods that were once seen every 20 years are projected to happen as much as … » More …
Growing up in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa, Yonas Demissie never suffered from lack of access to clean water, but he knew from a young age that it was a serious problem in most parts of his home country.
He remembers reading news and watching documentaries about the droughts and related famine that still impact Ethiopia.
“Why can’t a three-year-old eat his breakfast?” the young Demissie would ask his parents and teachers. “A society should not have an excuse for a child to go hungry.”
Tacoma certainly has had its share of broken bridges. But lately Hans Breivik ’88 has been coordinating the repair of one of them.
The double-bascule bridge across the Hylebos Waterway at the Port of Tacoma was built in 1938 and has been frozen in the open position since 2001. “Double bascule means that it has two leaves that open and close,” says Breivik, a construction management graduate who is now managing the $15 million Hylebos project. “When it worked, it worked on kind of the principle of a teeter-totter.” He raises his arm, imitating the way one arm of the bridge … » More …
Ah, for the safety and comfort of computer modeling in a cozy office.
Instead, Thanos Papanicolaou, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Washington State University, found himself in a small boat in the churning waters of the Tacoma Narrows during a “peak tidal event” taking water velocity measurements, soundings, and underwater pictures of the bottom of the channel.
“I was a little nervous,” he admits, recalling his guide’s efforts to avoid vortices in the current.
Papanicolaou and graduate student Kyle Strom have been working to determine exactly how much of a scour hole tides make around the pilings that hold … » More …