Engineers Without Borders

Paving the way towards a sustainable future.

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Engineers Without Borders

Photo by M. Machniak

Photo by M. Machniak

Photo by M. Machniak

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It is clear that science plays an important role in the lives of many students at Mater Dei Catholic High School. Programs like Science Academy and the robotics club help foster analytical skills as well as creativity. Recently, a new club called Engineers Without Borders was started by Mater Dei senior, Mary Machniak. This unique club gives students the opportunity to research and work alongside their peers while coming up with ways to solve environmental problems. The club currently involves many students and their efforts to research, design, and engineer an aquaponics system. Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics in which plants are grown in water without the use of soil. Research has shown that aquaponics is a successful way to grow plants because the plants are able to absorb the nutrients directly. There are currently about thirty members involved, and the club will be working with the University of California San Diego to build the system.

“Our goal is to create an aquaponics system which combines a traditional aquatic animal tank and hydroponics,” says senior Diana De La Toba. Club leader, Mary Machniak, was able to develop this idea that integrates engineering into a real life application that students would be able accomplish. The club is currently gathering background information on engineering tactics and biological aspects that will play an important role in the building of their aquaponics system. “We are going to design the layout of the tank, plan out the excavation site, and engineer an efficient system,” explains De La Toba.

The Engineers Without Borders club welcomes students from all grade levels. “I was interested in this club because it combines many different fields of science like biology, chemistry, physics, and ecology” explains club member and senior Fernanda Rebollar. Another member, Carlos Alcocer says that the Engineers without Borders club is, “a great opportunity to apply what we learn in our science classes into everyday life”. The club aims to use creative solutions to solve environmental problems in the world. The system that they are building will utilize recycled water from aquaculture to sustain crops which in turn could motivate the Mater Dei community to start making more changes towards environmentally sustainable practices.

 

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