Engineering Without Borders in Panama

Written by Patrick Fitzgibbon who is currently on co-op at Johnson and Johnson, and just finished his sophomore year in Industrial Engineering. He is from New Hampshire originally, and was active in Boy Scouts and track and field before coming to Northeastern. Besides EWB, Patrick is also a member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers. More often than not you can find him playing basketball in Marino or skateboarding around Boston.

Engineering Without Borders in Panama

I joined Engineers without Borders at the beginning of the Fall 2015 Semester, hoping to get involved in an engineering club but not sure what to expect. I ran into a friend I had not seen in a while at the meeting and also found that my freshman orientation leader was the Program Director for this chapter. This reassured my decision to join. The first task given to me was entering in several pages of elevation data into Excel. I had other smaller tasks after that, but I knew I wanted to become more involved in the club.

Spring Semester started and I joined a group working on bridge design. I put in more effort and spent time outside of meetings researching for the bridge design. I also felt more comfortable sharing ideas with others, and reaching out to others to learn more. One of my latest pursuits has been to start a weekly update, or what was coined ‘Pat’s Panama Periodical,’ on the latest happenings in Panama nationally and locally so that the club members could learn more about the country and people that are being helped by the water distribution project.

Joining Engineers without Borders might have been the best decision I could have made this year; it has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for myself. I actually had no idea it was a majority Civil Engineering club, but I never felt left out or as though I was at a disadvantage because I was not a Civil Engineer. The program is very welcoming to newcomers; the members make you feel right at home and a part of the team. I have seen some friends come and go from the club, it made me realize that to get the most out of the club and to really enjoy it, you have to become invested it. Once you become invested in it then there are limitless opportunities to advance skills, exhibit leadership, and grow as a student and a professional. Engineers without Borders also provides students with the ability to help developing areas around the world better their infrastructure. It is a worthwhile way for engineers, or someone of any major, to practice and learn more while giving back to the global community.

Related Departments:Mechanical & Industrial Engineering