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Max Bohana: "I'm volunteering overseas"

Max Bohana, from Englewood, Colorado, recently graduated with a major in in Physics with an Engineering Option.

This summer I'll be spending a month in Laos with Engineers Without Borders. We’ll be working in a small village in the central part of the country, putting in about 13 kilometers of pipeline from their water source, to the village and into a storage tank. We will be building the pipeline, the source structure, and the pipeline. Next year we’ll go back and put in the rest of the distribution system, pipe and taps for the rest of the village.

Engineers Without Borders is the most powerful experience I've had at Fort Lewis. I’ve gone every year. I did a trip to Thailand and have done two to Laos, and I did one to Ecuador. This year I'm president of EWB, too. We travel with professors and work alongside professional partners, engineers from the Durango area who help with the design and join us for the project work.

I’ve been heavily involved with the engineering side. Being able to utilize my book knowledge and produce real working systems has been pretty cool. That’s really satisfying. While we are there, I have to survey the area and redesign that section and make sure it is going to work. It has to be perfect, or else they won’t get water. I’m excited for the challenge, but I’m also excited to be with the villagers themselves and the people. Working with them is a pleasure and you learn so much from them, and how well they use their resources.

I looked at larger universities originally, but I just was looking for something different and a little smaller. I fell in love with the campus and the school. The class sizes—that’s a huge factor. I’ve run across some great faculty here -- it's the teachers persuaded me to stay. All the professors are overqualified for their positions. They’ve done extraordinary things in their lives. They’ve fallen in love with the Durango and the lifestyle, and that's why they're here.

Visit the Physics & Engineering website.

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