Outreach and Special Projects
Laura Arias-Chavez, assistant professor of Chemical Engineering, and her research team built a biosand filter and installed it at Monterey High School, where two biology classes (taught by Jeff Slagle) used it every day for approximately two weeks. Arias-Chavez and her team tested its performance in coliform removal alone and in combination with disinfection. About 20 students, mostly juniors, were involved.
Tania Datta, assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was the lead faculty on a urine-diverted composting latrine build project in San Benito Poite, Belize. This project was conducted in close collaboration with the School of Nursing, where three engineering students; three nursing students; Melissa Geist, nursing professor; and Datta traveled to a remote Mayan village in Southern Belize to train the local community on designing and building a model composting latrine.
Datta also volunteered in leading an activity at the 2016 Engineering a Future event, which is organized at Tennessee Tech and is designed to inspire middle school girls to pursue STEM-related career paths. To give the students a sample of water engineering, Datta organized an introductory presentation, highlighting the importance of water conservation and treatment and the "power" of water. This presentation was followed by a hands-on activity where students learned about water quality.
As further efforts toward community outreach, Datta participated in Trogg Sinkhole cleanup in Cookeville, TN, and assisted the City of Cookeville in collecting and assessing water samples from the City Lake.
Alfred Kalyanapu, assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is a co-faculty advisor for the Tennessee Tech Water Professionals Student Chapter and is an activity coordinator for the Engineering a Future event that promotes the pursuit of engineering careers in high school girls.