CINQ 388: Blog 1

After 3 weeks of fieldwork in Sierra Leone, I learned a lot of lessons while developing both personally and professionally.

  • Lessons Learned
    • The first lesson I learned is that you can always be nice to people. Your attitude is a choice you make all the time and regardless of what or how much you have, you can always choose to be nice to people. In Sierra Leone we were surveying strangers, and the vast majority of people were willing to sit and talk to us for up to 30 minutes, often about personal situations. People would also quickly get seating for us and sometimes even thank us for taking the time to come and ask them about themselves in an effort to make an impact.
    • I also learned that people are not really that different, even if it may seem like it at first glance. Talking to individuals in Sierra Leone and seeing what they value and what is important to them showed us that we really are not all that different. We also spent a lot of time with our translators, Sulaiman and Salifu. We spoke driving to and from villages, between surveys, and we even went to dinner twice. We often talked about watching soccer, going out with friends, and other activities that we all liked to do. It was a great lesson to learn, and we are now even Facebook friends with our translators!
    • The last lesson learned is critical information about life and habits of individuals in Sierra Leone that will allow us to further develop the survey. For example, many people have to walk through the woods/forest area for work although this behavior puts them at risk of contracting Ebola. Also, when individuals say they are a businesswoman or businessman they often mean what we would think of as a trader, which was very interesting. Additionally we learned that chemicals for cleaning that kill bacteria were not very present in the country.
  • Professional Development
    • Our team was lucky enough to go to Freetown and meet with both Statistics Sierra Leone and the Ministry of Health. This was an excellent opportunity for professional development. We are looking to partner with both of these organizations, so it was a great opportunity to meet them and for us to see partnerships begin to form. Specifically Statistics Sierra Leone seemed interested in working with us, administering the survey on our behalf for less money than we had originally estimated costs to be.
    • I also developed professionally during the surveying process. We were meeting new people many times a day asking to talk to them about sensitive information. This had to be done very carefully as to not offend anyone or appear obnoxious, as we were just trying to learn about them and their daily habits. During the survey itself, as we approached topics surrounding the Ebola Virus, it was surprising to experience that some individuals in non-affected villages would laugh about the topic and shake their heads. But it was important for us to remember that we were there for professional business, and to remain an unbiased observer. 
    • To administer the survey in Sierra Leone we had to use translators. For the first week when our professors Javier Buceta and Paolo Bocchini were with us, they were in charge of the team. When they left, I became in charge of the translators as I am the oldest. As a younger woman with two male translators in Sierra Leone, it was necessary to be assertive as a leader and stand my ground at any point that conflict arose. Our translators were compensated on a per survey basis, so often they would ask to complete more surveys or even just walk and try to initiate them on their own when we had collected enough data from that village and our drivers were ready to take us back. It was important and a good professional experience to deal with those situations.
  • Personal Growth
    • After seeing the conditions in Sierra Leone I am definitely more thankful for everything that I have here. It was my first time being somewhere that isn’t entirely developed, so I have definitely gained a new perspective on what life can be like for people who aren’t nearly as lucky as I am.
    • I also began to value my family and friends more after the experience in Sierra Leone. Family is extremely important in Sierra Leone– it is looked down upon to be an adult without children. We also didn’t often have access to wifi or cellular connection. As our trip proceeded, I realized I missed talking to my family and friends more than any social media or games I could play. Spending 3 weeks with limited connection really showed me what is important to me and what I take for granted.
    • I also became more independent on this trip. I think this was mostly because of the limited connection. While I have spent an entire summer abroad away from my family, I felt like I gained much more independence in my 3 weeks in Sierra Leone. Not having the cushion of being able to ask my parents or anyone questions the second they arose forced me to gain confidence in myself and my decisions. While I am happy that I am back and can communicate normally, I appreciate the independence I gained in Sierra Leone.


CINQ 396: Blog 11

M&E plan our project:


  • That Ebola will strike west Africa sometime soon. A very disturbing assumption to be having to make.
  • That we will be able to get data based on Ebola from WHO and the Ministry of health
  • That we will actually fill out these reports that I said we would make and present them
  • That the data we will be using is actually right and not false data
  • That we will be able to make a model that will accurately predict where Ebola will strike
  • That having the government use its resources more accurately will decrease the death rate from Ebola.
  • That we will be able to decrease the death rate by 10%
  • Sort of assumption is the education regarding behaviors that increase risk, will be able to quantify through the use of survey
  • Our survey will work

Logic Model:


Estimate the Social Return on Investment for your project. [Clearly, list all your assumptions.]


  • If the government doesn’t have to spread itself thin preparing resources across Sierra Leone, that if we can tell them that they need fewer resources in that area that they will actually do that.
  • That the average cost to treat an Ebola patient is around 600 USD if they die with treatment and disposal of the body. (
  • Approx 5000 confirmed cases in SL
  • Our product will be able to reduce death rates by 10%
  • Rest are listed in the Excel sheet
  • Important to note that the cost of a caring for a patent is relevant because its the SROI, so this SROI is dependent on the cost of caring for dead and sick patients with Ebola
  • The model I have below infers that if we improve the death rate, the people who don’t die don’t get sick. In other words, our model would prevent those from dying to be able to help the government from even getting Ebola.

Through the use of our model, for every 1 USD, we create a saving of 30 USD. [Rounded to the nearest dollar. The real number is closer to 30.25 USD].

A 3000% return on the investment.

CINQ 396: Blog 10


Design Phase (These are two grants for the design phase. We have two design phases, Survey, and modeling.)

  1. NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award (R21) This grant is a beginning grant for initial stages of research. We already have an NIH grant for our project, but it’s focused more on the original project with modeling bat movement. If we were to apply to this grant we would have more resources for our project to look into how we are building our survey. We would apply for it with logic using this grant to hire some professional help with the development of the survey. We need a good survey for the rest of our project to work, so professional help could improve the accuracy of our data and overall improve our project.
  2. NSF Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering (CDS&E). This is a grant focused on developing models and conducting research into modeling. We would write a proposal targeting this grant from a modeling perspective. Our project once the survey is completed and the data collected we need to create a model to implement the data into. This is sort of our second phase of development of the project, but fortunately, we can borrow the model from our bat project to accomplish the beginning of the modeling. We have made a lot of progress in this area, but we need money to run simulations and buy time with computing power, which would be the use of this grant.

Dissemination Phase (This first grant targets collecting data in Sierra Leone, the second i

  1. NIH Modeling of Infectious Disease Agent Study Research Projects (R01) This grant is focused on infectious diseases. We would write a proposal for this grant focusing on how our project has the potential to model the transmission of Ebola, which is an infectious disease. We would also probably add that if we get our model to work we can adapt it to other infectious diseases. Thus, the NIH would be more likely to approve our proposal. We would use this money to hire people in Sierra Leone to collect data and survey people while we are not there. This data is valuable to the NIH as raw data and is necessary for us to model the spread of Ebola
  2. CDC 2019 Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ELC). This grant is focused on the spread of disease worldwide. We would write a proposal to receive funding once we have completed the data collection and modeling, we would hope to start adding data from other countries, factors, and diseases into our model. We would use this grant to that by making new surveys, collecting new data, and improve the model with these new diseases by testing.



  1. CDC: We need to form a relationship with the CDC because they have experts that have a great understanding of Ebola. They also were on the ground in 2014 during the last outbreak, so they have an understanding of how the disease spread in humans which can help us better understand how the disease transmits from bats to humans. The experts who do what we are trying to do for a living who can give us advice. Finally, they have a lot of data from the 2014 epidemic which can use to train our model and better understand what is going on. Overall the CDC has so much human capital that we could use to further our project. The CDC has a mission to understand the disease and find methods to better control and understand disease, which we are doing so our interest align.
  2. NIH: The NIH has a lot of grant capability and also has a large research network we can rely on. Our relationship with NIH would be similar to our relationship with the CDC. They have experts, first-hand experience with Ebola, and data from the epidemics from before. There reach and network of researchers can allow us to connect with and improve our model. The NIH literally has tons of people who are doing what are doing that we can help, and that can help us. Take as much help as you can get. The NIH mission is to study health across the world, so if we are doing that, which we are they are incentives to work with us.
  3. WorldHope: Obviously we have a relationship with world Hope through Khanjan, but we need to establish a better relationship with them so in the future, we can have them possibly conduct our surveys for us while we are not in the country. We also can use them as a base to get transportation, translators, and a place to work, which are key resources we need in order to gather our data. WH will want to work with us because we have money and human capital that they desperately need.
  4. Statistics Sierra Leone: We would like to establish a relationship with statistics SaLeone to hopefully have them collect our data using our survey while we are not there. If World hope won’t or can’t play a part in the collection of the data Statistics can because they are already doing what we are trying to do, so we just need to convince them to do it with our survey. We just have to find the right motivation for them to do this for us. We can provide them with some capital resources to encourage them to work with us.
  5. UNSD (United Nations Statistics): The UNSD can provide us with connections to statistics bureaus across Africa. Ebola is really only found in Africa. We want to grow our model as much as we can, so we need someone who makes all the right connections and has a global reach. UNSD can make these connections to allow our model to grow and allow us to collect data in more countries to improve our model. I am not really sure why the UNSD would want to work with us other than to collect data that can be valuable to the world.

CINQ 396: Blog 9

Business Model- Acumen Fund

  1. Partner network
    1. Bain & Company
    2. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, IKEA Foundation, Metlife Foundation, Unilever (have given $5,000,000+ each)
    3. World bank
    4. Dow Chemical Venture Fund
    5. International Finance Company
    6. LifeSpring Hospital
  2. Key activities
    1. Invest in breakthrough companies
    2. Develop leaders disrupting poverty
    3. Create Platforms (+Acumen) that drive change
  3. Key resources
    1. Human capital
    2. Business strategies/planning expertise
    3. A network of people on the ground as mentors and advisors
    4. Financial capital
    5. Physical capital
    6. Infrastructure to move money and resources
  4. Offer
    1. Money/Investment
    2. Resources: strategies, a network of mentor and advisors, Training programs
    3. To improve the economy at the bottom end of the pyramid
    4. To create jobs through investment
    5. To offer what banks won’t, to small businesses
  5. Customer relationships
    1. Fund to Owner
    2. Fund to employees
    3. Advisors to employees/Owner
    4. Fund to NGOs
    5. Fund to World Bank
    6. Fund to Gov.
    7. Training Partners to students
  6. Distribution channels
    1. Support companies through access to expertise in their specific field
    2. Active, post-investment support in areas of governance, customer insights, and strategies
    3. Raise awareness of their goal through a focus on the social gain over monetary gain
    4. Invest donations instead of giving them away, turning philanthropy into investment capital
  7. Customer segments
    1. Creating value for companies through investments and area expertise for social enterprises
    2. Most important customers are early-stage companies providing a product or service to the poor across the areas of agriculture, education, energy, and healthcare  
  8. Cost structure
    1. Patient capital is a debt or equity investment in a social enterprise
    2. Typical commitments for an enterprise range from $300,000 to $2,500,000
    3. This capital is in equity or debt with payback or exit in about 7-10 years
    4. Value-driven and focused on value creation, premium value proposition
    5. Pay in-house staff with expertise in the fields of Acumen’s current projects
    6. Pre-negotiated fees for this support are paid in full by investees using part of their investment capital from Acumen.
  9. Revenue streams
    1. Funds its capacity-building projects through a pool of grant capital
    2. Acumen sets aside 10% of its total raised capital for capacity-building support to fund in-house staff
    3. Portfolio companies access Acumen’s in-house resources free of charge, these services attract investment pipeline
    4. Have built relationships with high-quality consultants with pre-negotiated fees for this support are paid in full by investees using part of their investment capital.


CINQ 396: Blog 8

Guy Kawasaki’s ‘The Art of the Start’ talk was extremely interesting and thought provoking. While the talk is referring to start up businesses, the entrepreneurial spirit associated with it applies well to our research projects here at Lehigh. One point that stood out to me was the idea that you should start your company (or project in our case) with the idea of creating meaning. Two ways he mentioned to do so which apply to our project would be to increase the quality of life or keep something good from ending. In our case, the results of our data collection and analysis could result in preventative policies or allocation of resources which would certainly increase the quality of life in Sierra Leone. If Ebola outbreaks can be predicted, their spread could be mitigated, which would keep the health of many Sierra Leoneans from deteriorating, i.e. maintain something good. Another point made was to get going and think differently. I think this strategy is applied to our project already- we have already set our trip for fieldwork in Sierra Leone. The idea of thinking differently has also been explored in our project meetings. For example, we are considering administering the survey to children in schools as opposed to our original idea of community health workers surveying adults. In addition, we are considering partnering with Statistics SL, an organization that may be able to assist in the data collection process. Guy Kawasaki also mentioned finding a few soulmates. I also think this is important in our project. I think this point has been applied in terms of our current team but should also be applied in Sierra Leone. Currently, I think our team is driven and consists of individuals who bring value in different areas to the table. Going forward, I think it is important to find a few soulmates in Sierra Leone as well in order to create and maintain contacts and assist generally with our project as the data collection must occur in Sierra Leone. The suggestion of weaving a MAT for the project also resonated with me as well. This is listing the milestones, assumptions, and tasks for the project. For example, when we complete our IRB approval that would be a milestone in our project. We are also making a few assumptions regarding our fieldwork in Sierra Leone. For one thing, we are assuming that between the 3 of us we can essentially survey a village in a day. We are also assuming that we will be able to travel for at least 4 days during our time in Sierra Leone. Based on these assumptions, all of us on the team will have to complete certain tasks during the fieldwork such as administering the survey. Lastly, Guy’s point to hire infected people stuck with me as well. By this he meant individuals who are passionate about the project and do not just meet the relevant background and experience requirements. I think this will be extremely important for us in Sierra Leone. If we expect individuals to complete the tasks we are looking for, one of the best ways to drive them is their own interest and motivation for the project. It is much less of a chore or job for individuals to do things that they are passionate about. With these ideas in mind, we have created a business model canvas for our project:

CINQ 396: Blog 7

The target customers for our project are the people of Sierra Leone. In our project we make a variety of assumptions about our target customers, some of which are obvious and some of which are not as obvious. 10 of the less obvious assumptions are as follows. The first assumption is that the people of Sierra Leone are going to be willing to talk to us as Americans. We are hoping that they will be open, but quite frankly, it is very possible that they will not be. Second, we are assuming that any data collected will be honest and individuals will be truthful about their behaviors, when similarly to our first assumption, it is very possible that this will not be the case. A third assumption we are making is that we can communicate effectively with the individuals we plan to administer the survey to, even with the translator. A fourth thing we are assuming is that the individuals we survey are aware of the measurable quantities we are trying to collect. Even if these individuals would like to help us, it is entirely possible that they will be unaware of some critical data points to identify a correlation. The fifth thing we are assuming is that there is a measurable correlation between an individual’s measurable socioeconomic qualities and behaviors that put them at risk of contracting Ebola Virus. The sixth thing we are assuming is that any correlation identified on the micro level can be scaled up to the macro level and still remain accurate. A seventh thing we are assuming is that collecting data from some small villages and some large villages will provide the variety necessary to identify the correlation. An eighth assumption we are making is that surveying just a handful of villages will provide enough data as well. A ninth assumption is that policy makers and health officials will be on our side supporting us during our time in Sierra Leone. Lastly, a tenth assumption we make is that there is a possibility of continuing the data collection process after the conclusion of our fieldwork. There are also a variety of hypotheses about our project that we need to test during our field work. We will test whether or not individuals are willing to talk with us openly, inherent checks within our survey will ensure honestly, we will figure out if individuals are aware of the information we are looking for, and we will see if communication is effective naturally as we proceed with the survey process in Sierra Leone. Hypotheses about correlation can possibly be identified by us as we administer the survey; however, it is more likely that those hypotheses will be proven or disproven in the fall semester. We also hypothesize that the Statistics Sierra Leone organization may be able to help us with survey distribution and collection, and also possibly health officials or policy makers, which may or may not be the case.

On my team, I believe I provide the perspective of a student but also someone with more research experience than my other teammates simply because I am older. I also believe I provide a more analytical perspective as my side of the project is more computational. I also bring to the team someone who is pursuing a business education, not only an engineering education, as opposed to my 2 teammates who are first year engineering students. Our faculty advisors are also both engineering focused individuals. As someone who is also a finance major, I have experiences and perspectives that are unique to my team. My perception of my own strengths and weaknesses hasn’t changed really throughout the semester. There are definitely things I could work on such as fidgeting during presentations. Overall I believe everyone on my team is an asset and provides skills that are helping us complete our project.

CINQ 396: Blog 6

In order to identify risky human behavior, it is necessary that we conduct a survey in Sierra Leone and gather more information. For us to complete our fieldwork in Sierra Leone, it is necessary that we get approval from the IRB, or Institutional Review Board, as we are involving human subjects in our research through the survey. Of the three levels IRB approval, this project falls under the expedited category. We would not have exempt status as we will be collecting identifiable information from the subjects. However, as we are just asking questions and there is minimal risk involved, so a full committee approval would not be necessary. Therefore we are expecting this process, once submitted, to take 1-3 weeks. We are not sure if we would like to survey adults or children. While children under the age of 18 are considered a vulnerable group to the IRB, it is still possible to use them as subjects so long as we disclose that we plan to in our proposal. We are looking to submit for approval in early April. It is also necessary that we provide informed consent for all subjects involved in the research. Luckily, Lehigh’s IRB has documents online that include the necessary legal aspects of informed consent. As we are trying to make the survey as short as possible (no more than one page), it is now an interesting aspect of our project to figure out the most efficient way to include the informed consent as part of the survey. In order to obtain the most honest answers we can, the survey is going to be anonymous. This makes things a bit more difficult when considering informed consent, which must be signed.

One way our project might be completed more efficiently is using a logic model. There are a variety of inputs necessary for our project. It is necessary that the team input a lot of time into this project. It takes time to run simulations, specifically craft survey questions, and determine the appropriate framework for survey distribution and collection. Every team member must put in enough time for this project to be successful. Another input this project requires is a knowledge base. Luckily, our professors Dr. Buceta and Dr. Bocchini have expertise in this area, as they have been studying the disease propagation and have modeled the spread of Ebola in bats successfully. Depending on the exact survey method used, different materials will be required. We are leaning towards paper surveys, which could require obtaining upwards of 1000 sheets of paper either in Sierra Leone, or travelling there with it. Regardless, the materials necessary to administer the survey are required inputs for this project. This project also has the input of partners, including the Creative Inquiry/Mountaintop Program, World Hope International, and the National Institutes of Health, which has been very helpful and supportive.

With all of the inputs, we are looking to develop a survey that can be used to correlate different measurable factors to how at risk a human is of contracting ebola virus. We are looking to deliver and distribute the survey to 4 villages (2 larger, 2 smaller) during our fieldwork in Sierra Leone. We are also considering partnering with someone in Sierra Leone that can continue distribution of the survey for about 1 year. If we can acquire data that can be used effectively, even just during the 3 weeks of our fieldwork, we are excited for the outcomes. One outcome would hopefully be general awareness of how to stop Ebola from spreading, and what easy preventative measures an individual can take. The output we are truly looking for is to be able to predict the likelihood of transmission of the ebola virus from a bat to a human. While it is not possible to provide additional doctors and resources to the entire continent of Africa, if the time and space could be predicted there could be an increase of doctors or medical supplies in that area specifically. This, along with shaping preventative policies, are the desired outcomes of our project.

CINQ 396: Blog 5

Any design process that is effective and uniquely mine would have influence from my life experiences, skills, and interests. Personally, I am both a kinesthetic and a social learner. This means that I learn most effectively by physically doing things and also working in a group setting. This means that an effective design process would incorporate going and physically doing things as well as collaboration with any team members. I personally enjoy working and brainstorming using white boards, and that is a good way to stand up and write or draw that can be done as an individual or collaboratively with a group. Any design process of mine would also be continual, in the sense that I would always be thinking about it to some extent. I have a hyperactive mind and often jump from topic to topic, so it would be useful to be ready to jot down any ideas or questions whenever they come into my mind. An effective design process for myself should also have built in checks for accountability. It is easy to say you want to get something done, but it much more likely to actually happen if you set a time and place to do it. It is also more likely to get done if there is some way built into the design process to ensure that tasks are completed, or at least attempted. Although in a perfect world everyone would just do what they are supposed to, it is sometimes necessary (particularly for myself) for there to be deadlines or other methods to ensure accountability.

I will validate my project concept throughout this semester by presenting it to others. Not only will I be able to show what my team and I have completed, but I will validate the project concept through fielding questions. The project concept is validated as well to some extent due to the 2014-2016 ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. During the outbreak, there was a large attempt to gather information. However, this system was significantly flawed as it was not centralized and not fully fledged until the end of 2015. The fact that there is a database of information on ebola virus because of data collected during the old outbreak is proof of the validity of my project concept, although the means and methods of my team’s are slightly different. The project will probably not use technology as technology is not common throughout Sierra Leone, and for my project to be successful the survey should be widely distributed. The usability of my project will be validated during the fieldwork in Sierra Leone and beyond that. The goal is to collect data for a year beginning at the start of the fieldwork. Lastly, the operational model will also be validated when we are in Sierra Leone and into next Fall, but the model will be tested throughout the semester while the project is presented and subsequently critiqued.

My philosophy on engagement with communities, partners, and markets is fairly straightforward. I think engaging with different communities Sierra Leone is going to be critical for this project. Not only are we going to need to interact with communities to administer and distribute the survey, but we will be interacting with communities and partners to get feedback on the survey itself and the administration process. Interactions with communities and partners will be mutually beneficial as almost every single person in Sierra Leone was affected by the ebola virus outbreak in 2014, and one goal of our project is to shape preventative policies in terms of disease spreading. It is also may prove to be important to interact with markets in order to distribute this survey as widely as possible, depending on if there is an opportunity there. Overall, engaging with communities, partners, and markets is beneficial for projects, particularly when the community is more knowledgeable about the topic or location which is certainly true with my project. However, it is important to maintain some minimal amount of control over the project as to maintain ownership of your work.

CINQ 396: Blog 3

     There are a variety of stakeholders in my project. The Office of Creative Inquiry is  teaching us and supporting our project throughout the semester. They are helping us decide how we plan to accomplish our goals effectively. This office is tied to the Global Services Impact Fellowship program and is therefore motivated to support my project as it tries to promote sustainable change through development and innovation. Lehigh’s College of Business and Economics is also a stakeholder as I have received a grant from the college for my fieldwork in Sierra Leone. The business school is motivated as this allows me to gain a new perspective through an international experience that does not only benefit me personally and professionally, but also has wider implications for change throughout Sierra Leone. Another stakeholder in my project is the National Institute of Health. This is as my project of modeling Ebola transmission in humans using data collected in Sierra Leone falls under a bigger project in which the spread of Ebola in bats has been successfully modeled. That project is supported by the NIH, as the “NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability”. This modeling project will provide fundamental knowledge about the behavior of Ebola, and ideally knowledge obtained will be used to drive preventative policies and reduce the illness. In a similar way but without the financial support, the government in Sierra Leone is also a stakeholder in this project. The government is motivated to assist with this project in order to reduce the magnitude of any future Ebola outbreaks. Lastly, the people of Sierra Leone are also stakeholders in this project. Many of them lost friends and loved ones during the 2014-2016 outbreak, and therefore stand to benefit a lot from preventing or minimizing another Ebola outbreak. I hope that this motivation to promote general well being and avoid another outbreak overshadows any possible stigma around Ebola in Sierra Leone. It is important that we collect accurate data during our fieldwork.

     In order for my project to be as successful as it has the potential to be, I must validate the project and enhance my own credibility throughout this semester. My first opportunity to validate my project will be at presentations next week in class. This will give us the opportunity to share our project with a variety of interested people. I am particularly looking forward to the question and answer portion of these presentations, as the questions will open our eyes to a lot of the issues or things we simply did not think to consider in our project. In recognizing that we have these issues or working to consider other factors, we are only getting information that can improve the project. We can then work to resolve these issues and consider other factors, which will increase the viability of the project. Whether the issue gets resolved or it just begins a more long term conversation on the project, this will enhance the credibility of our project as we will have a more robust pitch for the future. Another way that I may enhance my credibility is if I were to obtain a Grant for Experiential Learning in Health. This would mean that Lehigh recognized the viability of this project and is willing to support it financially to some extent. If I were to obtain this grant, that would definitely validate the project and enhance its credibility. Obtaining this grant would also result in more showcases or presentations during which I could enhance this project’s credibility. I will also be presenting this project in April, which is a good opportunity to see the viability and credibility of the project after working this semester, relatively close to when the field work in Sierra Leone is. Overall I plan to improve the viability and credibility of my project throughout this semester, but it is good to note the credibility and support the bigger project we are working under has.

CINQ 396: Blog 4

Nature can be used as a model or measure for your own designs. Natural selection reflects the way that a design should evolve and change as you find what does and does not work. Through this evolution, nature has produced designs that humans are still learning from today. Taking a product and trying something new, testing and improving the design until all you are left with is the best of the best. Nature acts as a mentor for my own designs/life as it never stops growing and progressing, continually improving. Designs should continue to grow and improve, and should not be considered stagnant or as final products. Lastly, nature also is perseverant. After natural disasters, nature grows back anyway, which is an ideology that should be applied to designs and life.

Being Resource Efficient is something that I have to take into account every day in my life. I always have something to do and something that I need to get done, when I start my day I make a plan on how I am going to spend my time and I try to make sure that I use every second. If I waste time doing something that I don’t really need to or could do faster and better, then I am missing out. Not being efficient means I could have done more, I want to make the most of my time and do that I have to make the most efficient use of it as I possible can. This also applies to my project, as there are resources that I must use efficiently. There is information in an Ebola database that has to be used in an efficient manner. In addition, we must be as efficient as we can with time– a resource that is very limited in Sierra Leone and must be used efficiently.

When I envision a project, I don’t make something that can’t be made for as long as it is needed. If I create something I want it to be something that doesn’t create more problems than it solves, something that doesn’t need to be limited in supply and use up resources and create a shortage that makes everyone’s life worse. This concept can be applied to this project by not using the resources from the Ebola outbreak in 2014-2016 that may not last too long. We should create a survey for the model that is not dependent on these resources for it to be used in the future.

I have learned many things from friends and professors that were completely alien concepts to me. When I first learned about quantum mechanics I was blown away. It was crazy to think that things would or would not happen based on probability and not through just the standard physical models. This concept opened my eyes to how much of what we learn is just models and approximations, which do not accurately predict many things in the universe.

Economics and how economists thought about the world was something I had not considered. The worth of things being dictated by the specifications of how it was made and how much people want it was totally new to me, I had only considered how valuable things were by how much they seemed to be, the fact that that value wasn’t decided by some immutable property but by people was inspiring to me.

I had an argument recently and it seemed that we could get nowhere. When I brought this up to my friends, they said that, for most people, the truth wasn’t what was actually true, but what people could be convinced was true. In fact, telling people certain facts repeatedly makes them more likely to believe them. In classical sciences, things are simply true or false. It was completely alien for me to think of the truth as a reflection of someone’s perspective and experiences, and not as empirical fact.