NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

In with the Engineers, Out with the Algae 

Erin Foody

NJIT’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders is always working on improving the quality of life of local and developing communities. One of its two current main projects includes a region inside Cotopaxi, Ecuador called Maca Grande; the objective is to provide a clean source of water to improve health and accessibility of those living in the community.  

The other major project involves surveying fallen materials and water flow to remove nutrient sources and algal bloom at Newark’s own Branch Brook Park. The members use an interactive map to document points along and in the water course where there are snags — areas of large buildup due to certain obstacles.  

The whole park is split into four areas, and about 10 volunteers have visited the park every two weeks since December 2021. The group started with Zone 3, continued to Zone 2, followed by Zone 1, and concluded with Zone 4 this March. Before covering the last zone, the members met with representatives from Pennoni — an engineering firm — and Jersey Cares — a nonprofit organization that recruits and engages volunteers to address community needs.  

Jesica Rana, second-year computer science major, is the Newark Project Lead for this semester. “I became really involved with this project because of its mission. Branch Brook Park is a stunning park in Newark that sees countless visitors every day,” she said. “It’s important for us to take the initiative to improve the quality of the water to benefit both the park’s visitors and the environment.” 

During 2022, second-year biomedical engineering major Theresa Carlos served as the Newark Project Lead, and she will continue the position in Fall 2023. She is grateful to have met and worked alongside many motivated individuals while being part of this project. Carlos made the initial request to collaborate with the park and developed the initial data collection method idea of using a combination of photo coordinates and collaborative google maps to create a precise interactive map.  

“I love seeing the beautiful flowers, animal life, and so many different people from the community coming together to enjoy the park,” she commented. “Knowing that the work we are doing will keep the park clean and safe and allow more people to continue going there motivates me to stay involved in the project and to do more.” 

Vice president of the club and second-year computing and business major Jhanvi Pai helps train volunteers on-site. She also organizes volunteer dates and manages technical tools to collect and analyze data. Pai loves seeing the commitment and passion students have towards the community, mentioning that “every survey session, we have different students from the university join us.” 

Arick Iglesias, president of the organization and second-year mechanical engineering major, mentioned that Engineers Without Borders focused mostly on the international project — Maca Grande — and had little to no activity in Newark. However, the Branch Brook Park Alliance showed interest in working with the club, leading to an expansion of the club’s portfolio.  

“One of my favorite parts of this project is definitely the people and volunteers,” he said. “Speaking with our Jersey Cares point of contact, Kelley Forsyth, is always a pleasure, and whenever we go to volunteer, seeing friends and members doing community service while also enjoying themselves in the park is always nice to see.” 

Engineers Without Borders welcomes students of all backgrounds to participate, implement their engineering skills, and solve real-world problems. Visiting its Instagram @njit_ewb or its website at www.ewb-njit.com can provide more information for those who are interested in contributing to the club!  

Check out the park’s interactive map below:-  

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Vector

Your donation will support the student journalists of New Jersey Institute of Technology. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Yukthi Sangoi, Editor-in-Chief
Donate to The Vector

Comments (0)

All The Vector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *