Week 4

Hello World!

Eastern Pennsylvania seems to really not want GSIF class to happen; as seen by the snow on Tuesdays exclusively. Global Social Impact, however, does not stop for the weather! This week we reviewed several resources on topics including biomimicry and cradle to cradle manufacturing, design. Through this week’s blog post, I hope to answer and respond to several ideas that would have been talked about in class.

The first idea that I want to talk about is the idea of nature. Nature inspires and motivates me in life and urges me to design better. Moreover, nature can serve as a model and mentor in every aspect of life. Take Entropy for example. Entropy is the constant movement towards disorder or chaos. From the ocean constantly churning solutes throughout its vast body to organizing every thread that goes into the concept of operations for Ukweli, entropy is constant. As a mentor, nature teaches me the concept of Strong as One. In short, this means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Take carbon for example. By itself, it is subjected to both ionic and covalent attractions; however, a carbon lattice is the hardest and one of the strongest substances on planet earth. Diamonds baby! Another way nature influences my life is as symbols of unity and integration of divergent ecosystems. You may think this is a stretch but – I am a Salmon! Much like salmons thrive in estuaries, I live on the intellectual line between Arts & Sciences and Engineering.

Later, through the readings we received and in the ideas embedded within Life’s Principles, I am curious how one specific principle relates to both my life and project. The principle of Being Locally Attuned and Responsive encompasses the idea of fostering cooperative relationships between people and the Earth in order to embrace constant improvement:

Be Locally Attuned and Responsive
Ukweli My Life
Leverage Cyclic Processes – Our venture aims to seamlessly integrate into the already working community health worker network. The same rules apply to UTI screening as does Malaria. There are limitations to the CHW capabilities. We are keeping it consistent. -Not sure, I’ll do some soul searching.
Use Readily Available Materials and Energy – Utilization of Common Tests that could be replicated

-This is a potential area of improvement I am curious what type of plastic should be used.

-I am not sure how I can integrate this into my life other than recycling.
Use Feedback Loops This is yet another area that I want to explore with the Ukweli team. How can we utilize feedback loops in our venture?

– Perhaps there is a feedback loop in the cycle of Sensitization ~> Screening ~> Diagnosis ~> Treatment ~> Sensitization.

-I readily use Feedback loops as I am constantly trying to become a better professional and overall quality human.

-Another aspect of this is how I choose to look at problems and how I choose to react. If I learn to better understand how I react to certain situations, I can better handle them making a “Negative Feedback Loop”.

Cultivate Cooperative Relationships – Foundation in working with several key stakeholders in order to run the venture. -Working as a team is not something that has come naturally to me. I have had to practice this, and now I can say that my best work comes from working with my peers!

This idea using readily available materials and energy is related to the concept of cradle to cradle design. This concept is based on the fact that all products have life cycles. For Ukweli, my vision for a cradle to cradle design would include a biodegradable test strip that contains three parameters with common assays that contain harmless chemicals that decompose easily. In addition, this product should have a small half-life of decomposition to deter negative effects on the environment

This week, I learned that impact starts with personal reflection. Who are you? What do you want to do? Why? I realize that the pathway to effective design solutions may not always be the sexiest or innovative; however, they are deeply rooted in the way we approach problems. We often overlook the most practical models for design in the quest for the most appealing technology when the solution might be right in front of us. On a more light-hearted note, I was asked to blog about some interesting things my friends taught me that was completely unknown to me. The first is camping. As funny as it sounds, I have never camped before coming to Lehigh. My friend Teddy took me on a camping trip my freshman year and I learned to make fire! Alek, one of my good friends since the start of Lehigh, taught me about the concept of cloud seeding. He is an environmental engineer and he spoke about how people can actually cause rain by the process of cloud seeding. Finally, a more recent example is during fieldwork in Sierra Leone this past summer. Rachel, a civil engineer and friend, was tasked with constructing a dark greenhouse to grow mushrooms. I definitely did not expect to be learning how to grow shrooms or build a grow house!

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