Instead of relaxing during the uni summer break, ANU Engineering student Rebecca Watts explored ways to fix broken solar panels and designed smoke extraction systems for houses without running water or power in Cambodia.
Rebecca was one of three ANU students to participate in the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Asian Design Summit in Cambodia.
She said one of the most eye-opening parts of the experience was learning the success of technology relied on community acceptance.
“I found the workshops provided valuable information that I need to consider when writing my thesis, that is when designing a solution I need to have completed sufficient research about the community and constantly refer to this data,” she said.
“I wouldn’t have developed such an understanding of Appropriate Technology or Cultural Sensitivity or such in depth discussions about these issues without the workshops.”
The two-week program drew engineering students from around Australia who met with developing communities to learn about community development, appropriate technology and humanitarian engineering.
“Studying engineering often had the reputation that it involves plotting through boring maths and physics stuff,” Rebecca said.
“Engineering opens up diverse range of interesting opportunities. Humanitarian Engineering is one of them,” she said.
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