Santa Clara University


Spring Break, SCU Style

Spring Break, SCU Style

The term, “Spring Break,” has become almost synonymous with partying in a sunny locale, but for a group of engineering students, it was quite a different experience this year, as they spent their time traveling to Nicaragua researching sustainable water systems.

In the fall, civil engineering seniors Steffany Castro and Edward Reyes chose to finish their education at SCU in a meaningful way by working on a capstone project relating to water resources. Steffany says, “The issue of water is so basic, yet so many people are without it. For four years, I’ve been living with the three C’s of Jesuit education: competence, conscience, and compassion. I felt I had to use what I’ve learned to help others as much as I can.”

The two began researching a gravity water system for Nicaragua. As they worked on their theoretical design, they decided to make it practical by surveying the area themselves, so an immersion trip was arranged. “It was great because we were able to put faces to the people in the community,” says Steffany. “Also, we had a lot of ideas going in, but seeing for ourselves how the system could work led us to change our design quite a bit.”

Since she returned to Santa Clara, Steffany has been encouraged and surprised by the number of people she has met who are addressing water challenges. “People are trying to make a change. This was my way of paying back what has been given to me. I’ve been helped so much that I just wanted to give a little back.” See our Web site for more on engineering immersion study: