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Being part of the change

10:08 AM  Aug 8th, 2017
by Cari Zahn ’18

For Jenifer Agudelo ’19, civil engineering means “building a future where others may inhabit.” This summer, she is living out that philosophy through her work with Five Rivers MetroParks in downtown Dayton. With the park’s sustainability initiative team, Agudelo is evaluating water usage systems to devise a plan for better water conservation and usage practices.

Agudelo connected with her service site through the University’s Semester of Service program and their collaboration with Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service Learning (ETHOS). While Agudelo feels grateful for the real world experiences she has gained through this opportunity, she appreciates helping communities outside of UD.

“Not only are engineers needed in these technical immersion projects internationally, but locally as well here in the Dayton community,” Agudelo says.

Agudelo has been able to use the skills she has gained as a civil engineering major to conduct water audits in order to support the Five Rivers MetroParks in their mission of protecting open space and natural areas. The team has no prior information on water usage in the parks, so Agudelo is working to build that database.

At the parks, Agudelo does building checks, where she makes note of existing water appliances and water pressure levels before conducting an hour-long water shut off to locate any leaks. She also makes note of any recreational water features, such as the fountains at RiverScape MetroPark, and recommends methods for water usage reduction. Another part of her job requires her to work with a horticulturalist to determine if the landscape is drought resistant, the plants are sufficient for water conservation, and if there is enough mulch to act as a chemical barrier.

Agudelo hopes to attend the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers conference in the fall where she plans to look for career opportunities in sustainability and engineering.

“Semester of Service has opened my eyes to the issues facing Dayton communities and what it means to be a part of the change we want to see,” Agudelo said.

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