My name is Ella, and I am an Environmental Engineering major here at Cornell. I am also a part of a project team on campus, Engineers Without Borders (EWB). When I came to Cornell, I knew I wanted to be involved in the community and be part of a larger cause. When looking at project teams to be involved with, I read about EWB and instantly wanted to join. After talking with members, I knew this was the project team for me. Everyone I spoke with was so kind and inviting, and I still feel that way about the members of the team. EWB is comprised of about 40 members involved with 4 different projects. We have projects ranging from software development to building a new water irrigation system in Tanzania. Despite the range of projects and majors, we all have a lot in common: wanting to help communities. Through my time as part of the group I have also realized how amazing everyone is and how helpful and kind the team is. We are all also united by wanting to help each other grow professionally and as people.

I personally have been involved in a project building sustainable housing units in the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. One of my favorite memories from being part of EWB was our trip to South Dakota. In April of 2022, five members of our team traveled to South Dakota. Having the opportunity to meet the community we were helping and seeing the actual sites where we were planning on building was vital for the project. I also learned about site analysis and geotechnical skills through the trip which were completely new skills that I had not learned in the classroom. EWB is very focused on building sustainably and building based on community needs, therefore, being able to listen to issues the members of the community face in general, and in terms of housing, was vital for the success of the project. This trip was an experience that I will never forget, and I am so grateful to have been part of it.

Being part of EWB has been one of my favorite parts of my Cornell experience. I have gained many technical skills in my role on my sub-team, and I am now on the executive board where I am learning many leadership skills. Seeing how hard my teammates work and care about the projects they do is so inspiring and very cool to be a part of. Finding a strong community at Cornell is important, and I am so happy to be a part of this team. I hope that you can join something you are passionate about and meet people with similar passions and interests.

—Ella, environmental engineering