Geography junior awarded fellowship to develop water quality project in rural Ecuador

Rossa-AmeliaGeography junior Amelia Rossa (along with fellow undergrads Joshua Kalman and Caden Lambie), in partnership with the Ceiba Foundation, has been awarded a 2016-17 Wisconsin Idea Fellowship to implement a water quality monitoring project in coastal Ecuador.

The project was one of nine selected for the 18th annual Wisconsin Idea Fellowships, a program that awards undergraduate projects working to solve issues identified by local or global communities. Fellowships are awarded to semester-long or year-long projects designed by an undergraduate student or group of students in collaboration with a community organization and a UW-Madison faculty or staff member.

The towns that the team will be working in were heavily impacted by the recent earthquake in Ecuador, affecting their original plan. Their efforts will now be geared more towards reconstruction of a municipal water supply and water security in the immediate future.

“Josh, Caden, and I are thrilled to have received the Wisconsin Idea Fellowship and are eager to help as much as we can with reconstruction in the wake of the earthquake,” said Rossa. “Although our methods will be slightly different, our overarching goals are the same and perhaps even more relevant to the community following this disaster.”

The projects, which are all rooted in the concept of addressing needs identified by community partners, range in topic from public health, to agriculture, college-preparedness mentoring, poverty and more. A total of 15 UW-Madison students are part of this year’s projects, sponsored by the Morgridge Center for Public Service.

The WIF selection process is highly competitive, with successful projects receiving both logistical and financial support—up to $7,000. Some projects will begin this summer, and some may last through next May.

Project Details:

Empowerment of Coastal Communities Through Permanent Water Quality Monitors (Manabí Province, Ecuador)

Students: Amelia Rossa (Conservation Biology, Geography), Joshua Kalman (Environmental Studies, Conservation Biology), Caden Lambie (Biology, Spanish, Global Health)

Faculty advisor: Catherine Woodward

Community Partner: Ceiba Foundation

Description: In Manabí province, a coastal region of Ecuador, Giardia, Cholera, amoebic dysentery, and dengue are common where water quality is often poor. Working alongside the Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation, students will train others in water quality monitoring techniques, establish permanent water quality monitoring sites, collect water quality data and compose informational materials for community dissemination.

Author: Geography Staff