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Study Abroad Profile: Nicolas Fernandez

Nicolas FernandezProgram: Engineering Service Learning at Montana de Luz
Location: Honduras
Rank: freshman
Major: electrical and computer engineering

"During my spring break in 2014, I took part in the Engineering Service Learning trip in Montana de Luz, at an orphanage for kids born with HIV/AIDS in Honduras. I lived with these kids, while simultaneously applying engineering coursework to help the orphanage. I was the team leader in charge of the aquaponics project, a food production system that combines conventional aquaculture with hydroponics in a symbiotic environment. The system was successfully constructed and is now being used by the orphanage to grow tilapia and vegetables. Not only were we able to help the orphanage with our project, but the impact the kids had on me was immeasurable. I am now sponsoring Eric, a 5-year-old child who was born with HIV, so he can have a chance to grow up, go to school and become successful when he graduates.

There were two motivations that made me want to participate in this trip. In Colombia, the country where I was born and grew up, poverty and the need for basic supplies is everywhere and I Nicolas Fernandezknow the daily struggle that people have to live with. I saw this class and trip as a way to give support to a community that is doing an amazing job for kids who consider each day a blessing. The second reason why I decided to participate in this trip is because I wanted to get involved in developing and building a project, in my case an aquaponics system. Problem solving, team work and stress management are some of the characteristics I feel I've been strengthening in as this class progressed."

Check out Nicolas' experience on Facebook and Twitter.