As students, Paul and Kristine Hamilton participated in Engineers Without Borders. Paul, CE’09, traveled to Guatemala with EWB, while Kristine, ChE’09, went to Bolivia.
The Hamiltons now live in Houston, where Kristine is a chemical engineer for ExxonMobil and Paul is a graduate student at the University of Houston. But the couple’s EWB experiences at S&T have stayed with them.
After Tropical Storm Agatha hitGuatemala last June, the Hamiltons got their visas out and headed to Central America. They went to a community called Paquip, where about 80 families were left without a reliable water source. The Hamiltons joined an effort to design a water system to replace the one that was damaged. They also worked on the design of a non-erodable channel that will help prevent future flooding.
During Agatha, a large river went off-course and brought mudslides, rocks and ruin to the community. Paul and Kristine have created plans to re-route the river and put it back on course. This will help the community avoid future natural disasters.
Back at the University of Houston,Paul is doing related research in the field of sediment transport. Meanwhile, a blog dedicated to supporting indigenous Mayan-language people has been providing updates on the post-Agatha progress in Guatemala: www.wuqukawoq.org/home/blog.