I found out about the GSIF program through my professor Javier Buceta. As soon as I learned about the program I knew it would be a very unique and valuable opportunity for me both personally and professionally. As Dr. Buceta’s research is one of the projects, and I am shifting topics in my research and beginning work on that same project, it was only natural for me to enroll in this course. I am especially looking forward to the fieldwork in Sierra Leone. I believe this course will definitely help me become a both better chemical engineering student and finance student. It is very easy for chemical engineers to get caught up in theory, without realizing that in order for their efforts to solve problems they need to be practical. I believe this course will give me exposure to problems the world is facing. It was disappointing to learn that 90% of the worlds engineering efforts are to solve legitimate problems for 10% of the worlds population. It would make the world a better place and possibly be much easier to find solutions to the problems facing the vast majority of the world– particularly in under developed countries in which engineering solutions would be truly impactful. While my efforts during this course and perhaps even onward may not solve any problems, the ideology will stick with me throughout my professional career. I also believe this course and the perspective it gives me will make me a better finance student. It is important to have a global mindset, especially with how connected the world is today.
The plethora of individuals who need but do not have access to glasses is an engineering problem that certainly deserves work. This problem is especially prevalent in developing countries. While this may not be realistic or impactful, I believe that there is a way to give some of those individuals access to the glasses they deserve. Knowing that there is barely one optometrist per one million people in areas such as Kenya, I believe that if any store with access to mail can provide glasses with a small glasses kit many more individuals who need glasses would have access to them. In order for any store or market to be able to sell glasses, there needs to be a quick and simple way to evaluate an individual’s level of vision and ultimately provide them with functioning glasses. Even though I am not an optometrist, I believe this can be done with a piece of paper with letters written on it. Ones vision could then be evaluated based on how well he or she could read the paper at a variety of distances. Along with the paper to evaluate the level of vision, the glasses kit would also include instructions on how to interpret the results. The inability to read at certain distances would indicate near sightedness, farsightedness, or a combination of the two. At that point, the worker would pick 1 of maybe 5 or 7 standard prescription lenses. The last thing the kit would include would be the glasses frame. If the frame we’re to look like conventional glasses, it would have to be initially flat and made from a cheap material, possibly even a natural material. The material would need to hold its shape but also bendable and ideally also durable. The store employee would then put the required lenses into the frames and squeeze the material to hold each lens in place. The employee would then have the customer hold the lenses up to their eyes, ensure they were helpful to the best of their ability, and then bend the frame to fit the head size of the customer. Instead of a standard frame look, I also think an interesting idea might be if the frame was circular and stretchy, almost like a headband, but fitting around the customer’s head similar to a blindfold would, only with a flat rigid front of the frame that the lenses could then pop in to. Regardless, I think these glasses kits may have the potential to provide vision assistance to those who need it. Even if this solution is ridiculous and has absolutely no viability, the fact that so many people do not have access to something so basic and that so many people take for granted is problematic in my opinion.