"D-Lab played an important role in shaping my undergraduate experience as well as my professional goals. It introduced me to the role that technology can play in international development and the integrated approach that needs to be taken in deploying these technologies."
My D-Lab involvement began in my sophomore year when I took D-Lab: Cycle Ventures. I learned about various bicycle-powered technologies and followed it up with a trip to Assam, India in January to work in a rickshaw factory.
My senior year, I joined the Design for Scale course, where we looked at various technologies that already functioned but needed to be redesigned to reach a greater consumer base. In the fall of my senior year, I was also an undergraduate assistant for the D-Lab freshman seminar D-Lab: Discovery. Additionally, the spring of my senior year I worked as a tour guide, showing families and visitors D-Lab’s technologies and explaining the expanding scope of the program.
Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation
In my senior year, I was an intern for the Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation (CITE), a USAID supported program partnered with D-Lab to evaluate technologies used in the developing world. I initially worked on student engagement strategies and later transitioned to research with the sustainability research team. Following my graduation, I traveled to India with this team to evaluate household water filters in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. I surveyed and interviewed community members to learn about factors that contributed to the success of various filters. In February, I will travel again with the sustainability team to investigate water quality test kits used in rural villages.
Isla Urbana, Mexico City
Since September, I have been working in Mexico City with a non-governmental organization called Isla Urbana that is installing rainwater-harvesting systems. The project is focused on combatting the growing water crisis in the city by providing homes, schools, and communities with a sustainable water source. Isla Urbana combines the installation of the systems with educational activities for both kids and adults, and also performs follow up visits to ensure the adoption of the systems. I will continue to intern with this group after my research project in India.
Working in the intersection of technology and development
All of these experiences have shaped my desire to continue to work in the intersection of technology and development. I plan to attend graduate school and build upon the knowledge that I’ve gained. I hope to learn the skills necessary to tackle water and sanitation projects around the world. Ultimately, I hope to successfully implement low-cost life-changing technologies for people that need them the most.
Read more about Sydney Beasely's involvement in D-Lab in the following blog:
MIT Scaling Development Ventures Poster Session 2014, 02/19/2014