Summer in Guatemala helping improve water quality

In June 2018 just after completing her bachelor’s in Bioengineering from CU Denver/Anschutz Samantha Sharrar traveled with Gabriela Reyes, a current Masters in Public Health student to the CU Trifinio Clinic site in rural Guatemala for three weeks. Cassandra Howard, a Bioengineering Instructor, joined the students for the first week of their trip. The focus of the trip was the implementation of a water quality assessment project. Samantha and Gabby trained local Youth Leaders on how to use field incubators to run water quality tests on 3M™ Petrifilms. As part of the junior design course, students designed the field incubators. Samantha, Gabby and the Youth Leaders worked with community members to obtain water samples, plate the samples on the 3M™ Petrifilms and then incubate the films for 48 hours in the battery-powered field incubators. The results were then presented back to the community in a demonstration led by the youth leaders to educate community members on the importance of filtering or boiling water. One additional component of the project that was trialed during the trip was a smartphone app, built by Samantha to help automate the interpretation and data storage of the water assessments. This project was an initial pilot program for the Department of Bioengineering. The Department is now offering a 3 credit 2-week faculty-led Global Health Design course in May/June 2019. The Bioengineering faculty and students involved in the project want to thank Dr. Dan Olson, Dr. Elizabeth Carlton, Dr. Molly Lamb, Cristina Del Hoyo, Gabby Reyes, and the staff and youth leaders at the Trifinio site. 

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