Summer is here, and for the Public Service Center, that means our Fellows and Interns are either already hard at work at their destinations or getting ready to implement their public service projects around the globe. This summer, our students’ projects range from setting up a science lab and Internet connection at a school in Tanzania to teaching women fashion design skills (as well as implementing city revitalization strategies) in New Orleans to studying water scarcity due to climate change in St. Lucia.
Listed below are our current bloggers, who will bring to you their experiences. Check back often to see their updates!
Dan will work full time for ten weeks for the California Housing Partnership Corporation (CHPC) out of its Los Angeles Office. CHPC is a State-sponsored nonprofit housing policy and financial consulting organization whose mission is to help nonprofit and government agencies develop, preserve, and manage affordable housing for low-income households. His work will strengthen and refine CHPC’s programmatic efforts to preserve housing affordability, reduce utility costs, and improve housing quality for very low-income Los Angeles residents living in at-risk, nonprofit-owned affordable housing. He will also produce key deliverables as part of a larger, MacArthur Foundation-funded effort for CHPC to develop a affordable housing preservation policy and funding framework for the City of Los Angeles.
Esther will travel to the Orkeeswa Secondary School in rural Tanzania this summer. She and her project partner Jessica have developed a way for the school to receive wireless Internet access by extending the cellular data network 7 km from the nearby town of Monduli. She hopes to increase the capacity of the school by setting up Internet access for its new computer lab, and also bringing over electronic teaching resources donated by MIT professors.
Jessica will spend this summer in Monduli, Tanzania setting up a science lab at a secondary school in an underserved area. She will create an interactive science curriculum using locally available materials for demonstrations. She hopes her work will help empower and inspire students to continue their education and one day give back to the community.
Mariko will work with the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP)–an international non-profit–in Ahmedabad, India on a new initiative to increase pedestrian and bicycle access and safety in the city. She will work on developing a local street design handbook over the summer, specifically focusing on creating a safer pedestrian network through dedicated infrastructure initiatives. A city that provides infrastructure supporting non-motorized transit not only promotes environmentally sustainable transit and more transit options for their citizens, but also promotes an equitable means for underserved communities to access city services and their destinations.
Melissa will spend the summer interning at ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability. She will work on two projects that help communities in Southern California plan for the impacts of sea-level rise. She will work with partners at the City of Los Angeles on a vulnerability assessment that uses a workshop and survey method to better understand the vulnerability of community assets to sea-level rise. She will also work with city planners and researchers in the San Diego area to develop a Regional Research Agenda that prioritizes the research that local planners need to plan for sea-level rise.
Rance is working with Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc. (POAH). POAH is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve and steward affordable rental housing to provide stability, hope and economic security to low- and moderate-income individuals and families. POAH owns and operates close to 7,000 affordable homes at more than 50 properties in nine states and the District of Columbia. In particular, he will assist the Chicago office as a development intern, using his training in planning and development to help clear the various hurdles that arise during the development process for projects in demolition, construction, close-out phase and the initial acquisitions phase. Additional projects include developing a vehicle for acquiring and rehabilitating smaller two-family residential buildings and working on state or local public policy initiatives that support the office’s work in affordable housing and community revitalization.
Zsuzsa- The Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI) in Castries, St. Lucia, West Indies has agreed to host her this summer. Her project approaches water security, as the problem is aggravated with global climate change, to remedy their shortage of healthful, available water year-round. This project is the development of pilot rainwater harvesting systems that will contribute to the foundation of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) taking place in St. Lucia this summer. A rainfall-climate analysis will be completed in the context of Hurricane Tomas. Together, her work will complement the current infrastructure in national development planning for both the water system infrastructure and an improved disaster preparedness strategy. Zsuzsa will be using her work this summer to complete her undergraduate thesis project for the MIT EAPS Department.