Week 5

Based on your life experience, skills and interests, what would a design process that is both uniquely yours and effective look like?

There is a process to every project or design. First things first I always write down the design constraints to the problem. This helps me keep focused on the task at hand and what’s required for a fool-proof design. From here I make sure I have all the right tools for the job. I learned this from my dad who learned it from his. My grandfather used to say “If you don’t have the right tool for the job, go to the store and buy it.” It seems like a simple saying, but if you do not have the necessary tools or skills, odds are the the final result will be half-assed. From there I attack the project head on and get help on the problems that arise with whatever resources are available such as friends, books, or the web. Finally, I’ll get it reviewed by a superior for criticism and validation.

How will you validate your project concept, technology, usability, operational / business model?

I’ll validate my project the same way millions of people validate their decisions in life, by ensuring my work will positively affects more people than it harms. In the scope of this project, there is not much room to harm people, otherwise it would not be an effective sustainable development project. But to positively effect people for this project, we must complete the project to it’s end and its goals from the beginning. If we fall short on our goals it will be like we abandoned the women of the Co-op in Paradise Village, and that is a failure. For validation we must complete the task we set out to do and anything more than that is a plus.

Articulate your philosophy of engagement with communities, partners, and markets.

I am often described by my family as a “nice boy.” But what classifies nice? Being polite? Respecting others? Sure, but I strive for more than that. I want to be the type of person whose actions are impact hundreds in ways that people don’t often see. I enjoy the recognition for doing the right and honorable thing. It helps fulfill aspects of my ego, but its not my primary motive. Its the little things and attention to detail that go a long way. That being said I believe that compassion and awareness are cornerstones to my philosophy of engagement. One needs compassion to be dedicated and focused on benefiting those involved. Awareness goes along way because the needs and requirements of a project may not always be clear, but its my responsibility to be aware of all factors that make my projects go smoothly.

Week 4

Give three examples of how you can use nature as a model / mentor / measure for your own designs (and life).

As an electrical engineering student a lot of my projects and homework deal with circuit and design in general. I can use the complexity of the design of nature to inspire well-crafted but complex circuit designs. More importantly, the wonders of nature can clear my mind and distract me from my designs which would improve my creativity and efficiency in the long run. Nature is a mentor for my life in another way when I’m out skiing. When skiing on an impressive mountain you can be as creative as you want to be but you always must stay in control which is true always in life.

Pick one of Life’s Principles. Explain how you might apply it to your work and life (could be unrelated to your GSIF projects)

Resiliency is a very important factor for engineering. An example of resiliency in electrical engineering is a project my father worked on. His company got a job working for three different hospitals in the Bronx. Their role was to integrate generators into the the circuiting and power lines for each hospital as well as interconnecting the power lines of all three hospitals. The purpose of this was that if one hospital lost power, the other two hospitals could reroute power to the other. This would prevent the hospital from having to move patients and lower the risk of death of critical patients. This investment from the hospitals could save them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

How do you envision integrating the Cradle to Cradle Design concept into your project (and life)? Give one compelling example.

The Cradle to Cradle idea is directly ingrained into our project. The idea I took from the video was that resources follow a cycle and will always become useful for something else.  For Project Plastikan, we plan to build machines that will turn plastic waste into valuable goods. We are using plastic waste as the input to our machines, plastic waste that was previously used for water bottles, detergent bottles, bins, etc. So we have created goods from plastic, but can these goods be reused for anything else? Well the beautiful thing about plastic recycling is, is that you can recycle plastic forever as long as it remains properly sorted.

Give three examples of something very interesting you learned from a friend that was a completely alien concept to you.

-One thing I learned first hand was the freeze-dried meals are actually quite tasty. A family friend of mine is super into hiking, camping, and adventure. When he goes camping he’ll often have freeze-dried meals for dinner where boiled water is the only addition you need.  There are a few meals that aren’t too tasty (lasagna), but some are delicious (beef stroganoff).

-Life can be better from some people with drugs that are often frowned upon. A friend of mine lived a long life of drug use, especially nicotine, followed by a very long stint of being sober.  Post the sober period he retook nicotine use because he was able to maintain a better mental state and general happiness with nicotine. This mentality is definitely not the norm or the suggested path but interesting that it worked for someone.

-Third one is that Zion Williamson, a freshman basketball player for Duke University, would be the second heaviest player in the NBA if he joined right now. This blew my mind because this guy can dunk the ball with such easy as he can jump and extend his hand well above the rim. He weighs in at 285 pounds which is insane for a 18 year old kid.

SDEV 201 Week 3

describe the five major stakeholders for your project and their motivations. describe three ways in which you will validate your project and enhance your credibility over the course of the semester

Over the course of the semester, I will be working on the PlastiKan project. Our goal is to improve the economic standing of several women in a women’s co-op. We plan on doing this by establishing a plastics recycling network so that the reused plastic can be shaped into new goods with market value.  This project is going to be tough but it can be broken down into a few steps.  First, we must complete some serious research into the local market and the logistics behind the connections between the women’s co-op, possible recycling centers, and landfills. The next step would be the creation and application of the appropriate machines for recycling plastics. Our team has begun the research into the steps of plastics recycling processes.  The majority of waste plastics we would be repurposing would be polyethylene terephthalate which is the plastic composition most commonly used in drink bottles and jars.  To repurpose this plastic, it takes three steps. First it goes into a shredder, then it gets melted down in an extruder, and eventually the melted plastic goes into a mold for its next product. So our team is responsible for the creation of these machines in an affordable and reasonable way. Once these systems are in place, the final thing our team would have to do is provide training for community members in the co-op for the skills required to keep this recycling system in place.

So, the plan is in place and the only way to execute on it is to have the right sponsors and backing from reliable sources. Our team is getting help for this project from multiple sources. The first one is Lehigh University. Lehigh has allowed all of our group members to have the right resources and they have enabled all of us to have the “go getter” mindset which is necessary for a project of this scale. None of this would be possible without the financial support that Lehigh provides us. This project is a worthwhile investment for Lehigh because on completion, Lehigh’s credibility will improve while also improving the capability of global impact for its students. Another major stakeholder for this project is the University of the Philippines. They will also have several students working on this project which will be very helpful for logistics and planning when our students arrive. This project is very important for their university as they are tackling real world problems that exist in their own backyard. There are many more resources in the Philippines that we will be utilizing throughout the course of the project. The women’s co-op is a big one. They are backed by the Catholic Church so it is easy to see why they would be interested in service projects to help their own community and its members. The Catholic Church will also be a big stakeholder through the Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines as their members serve to engage the members of their community and uphold the principles of the Church. One last resource that will also play a role throughout the project is Children’s International. This is a global nonprofit humanitarian organization that focuses their energy on improving the lives of children by trying to end poverty. This organization must be interested in our project because we are trying to improve the economic stability of many women who are all apart of some family. All of these entities will be extremely useful over the course of this project in their own important ways.

How will I validate this project? Well, I think the easiest (and hardest) way is to simply do the work. The only way to make this project be successful is to put in the effort and grind out the work. It’s a simple recipe for a rewarding result. The next important thing that will have to take place is being able to overcome obstacles. I don’t know what it’ll be but something will come up over the course of the semester that will seem insurmountable and being able to overcome this will demonstrate some serious validity for this project. Unfortunately, I will not be traveling to Manila, but I think being timely and present when it’s important will really add value to this project and any project for that matter. If all three of these get down it’s pretty easy to see that my credibility and the credibility of the whole team will be very apparent.

Why Did I Enroll in SDEV 201…?

I have just begun my sixth semester here at Lehigh University and I am finally getting into the heart of my education.  My classes are getting more in depth and have a greater focus on technical topics.  As an electrical engineer, the courses I take have an emphasis on math and complex circuits.  So with many difficult and narrowly focused classes, I decided to take Sustainable Development Solutions because I wanted a break from technical courses and to take one that encompasses a wide range of ideas geared towards real world progress.  Every professional in the electrical engineering field that I have talked to has admitted that they do not use a lot of the information they learned in the engineering courses.  I wanted to take Sustainable Development Solutions because the information I can learn in this subject area can help me and my fellow students have real world impacts to improve quality of life for some people. Last semester I completed the Challenges of Sustainable Development course which truly provided a complete picture of the field of sustainable development. I felt I learned the most through studying the 17 sustainable development goals set by the UN because they encompass so many different topics in the field which are all equally important.  Going in depth into the different goals really sparked a passion for solving problems in the world the best way I can. However, SDEV 201 will be different than SDEV 010 as I am now going to be focusing on a specific project that is hoping to come up with a practical solution for one of life’s problems. So, how is this course going to help me become a better electrical engineer? Well, the basis of engineering is to solve problems.  Cars were built by mechanical engineers to solve the problem of getting people from point A to point B.  Bridges were built by structural and civil engineers to get people over obstacles.  Electrical grids were designed by electrical engineers to get power across the world.  When you break down engineering, it all comes down to problem solving.  That being said, I believe that this course can make me a tremendously better electrical engineering because I’ll be practicing real world problem solving.  This project will not be completed overnight and it will take a lot of work which will help strengthen a lot of other skills that would help me become a better engineer.  I will be working with other people on this project so a lot of coordination cooperation and logistics is needed in order for this project to be a success.  However, these skills are needed to complete any job or project so improving those skills will help me in the long run.  I feel the biggest problems arise when there is a lack of communication between group members and the inability to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each member.  Working on this project and taking this course will help strengthen these important skills.  I’m also hoping that goals of this project of trying to make the world a better place will help motivate me in the future. Knowing that the work I will be doing will be improving the quality of life for some people will inspire me to continue to pursue large and complex projects that change things for the better.

I have just learned that over a billion people in the world have issues with their eyesight and have no access to eyeglasses. Most of these people live in developing countries with no access to optometrists that could provide them with eyeglasses. Without available doctors there is not an easy way to get the products they need which results in a poorer quality of life due to the disabilities and lack of opportunities associated with bad eyesight. The first step to solve this problem would have to come from donations.  An initial influx of eyeglasses could help cover the needs of the current population of people in need of glasses.  However, this is not a sustainable solution to this problem for future generations. The next step would have to be a large scale training of local doctors in regions of interest that could provide prescriptions for for years to come.  More doctors would help tremendously, but people still need access to the physical product. For this to happen a boost in manufacturing must occur in order to have the number of glasses available for the number of people in need of them.  This can only occur if the least developed countries continue to grow their manufacturing industry.  Once these developments occur, I believe the one billion people in need would drop significantly.