For my first experience I traveled to Costa Rica during the summer of 2015 with Duke Engineers for International Development (DEID) where my team implemented our design for clean, wood-burning stoves. I had been a member of the project team since the beginning of the Fall 2014 semester. In the rural, indigenous part of Costa Rica where we went, the locals cook over open fires within their homes, creating Indoor Air Pollution that causes health issues such as the development of asthma in young children. Our team engineered a design for a wood burning stove that we built in the homes of these villages while simultaneously teaching the locals how to build the stoves so that the change could continue to spread after we left.

While there, we also performed the onsite surveying necessary so that DEID can design a bridge and build a bridge as a future project for the same community. This bridge will enable the locals to safely cross the river during the rainy season, thus providing access to education, healthcare, and markets.


My DEID Costa Rica team was presented with issue of indoor of air pollution and sought out a solution that is cost effective as well as accepted and desired by the local community. To achieve this we researched different designs for clean, wood-burning stoves and merged the qualities that best fit our needs into a single design. The experience required us to raise our own finances for the project and so we sought out funding from friends and family, created an Indiegogo page to fundraise online and through social media, ran bake sales, and applied for grants. The actual trip to implement the project was filled with unexpected challenges and setbacks (which are detailed in the artifact) that required our team to rally together and persevere. Looking back some of the biggest takeaways I gained from the experience is that communication is incredibly vital and Murphy’s Law is very real.

Experience Artifact

Our team created a Post Implementation Report to document and summarize the background, process, results, and future recommendations for the project. This document was shared with the DEID Executive Board and our Faculty adviser and included in DEID’s archives of past projects.

DEID Costa Rica Post Implementation Report