2016 Applicant – Kayla Baker
2016 Apllicant – Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A. Ohio Problem-Solving Scholarship
Kayla Baker – Dayton, Ohio
My peers and I face many challenges as we approach adulthood. It can be overwhelming to think about all of the issues that have room for improvement such as pollution, bullying, poverty, climate change, gender inequality, cancer, and many others. The multitude, complexity, and endurance of these issues can cause one to admit defeat before even trying to do something about them. However, I am a passionate believer in my ability to make a difference in this world. My decision to become a Civil Engineer is rooted in this desire to help others. My mindset about facing this mountain of problems is to not become discouraged when I am not able to solve everything. Every attempt causes positive ripple effects which may result in future success.
To settle upon the one thing that I want to change about the world, I have utilized the work of psychologist Abraham H. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I have learned that addressing the physiological needs of the world such as clean water, adequate food and drink, warmth and sleep is an important first step in improving the lives of others. Everyone should have access to the basic foundations of life. Without these essential things, people are unable to concentrate on improving other areas of their lives. This is the one thing that I would change in the world. I believe that the resulting improvement in quality of life will lead to positive progress throughout the world. As a future Civil Engineer, I will be studying Water Resources and Construction Management and will be able to use my education to increase access to these basics and improve the lives of others.
Current methods of food production require more water than is available. This is going to become worse in the future as the world’s population continues to expand. By 2030, it is estimated that producing enough food to feed everyone will require 30 to 45% more water. A recent article in the Washington Post titled “Over half the world’s population suffers from ‘severe’ water scarcity, scientists say” describes how measuring disappearing rivers and shrinking lakes have led scientists to determine that water scarcity affects close to four billion people each year. The World Economic Forum, a non-profit organization committed to improving the state of the world, lists water crises as one of the top three risks facing our world. The World Bank also recognizes the world’s exploding demand for water and has funded the 2030 Water Resources Group with a mandate to underwrite projects that will enhance access to water and improved irrigation.
In addition to the availability of water, water quality is paramount. As we have seen recently in Flint, Michigan and the Village of Sebring, Ohio, clean water is a necessity that should not to be taken for granted. I plan to participate in Engineers without Borders club projects. Their water supply projects work with communities to address their need for clean water. They invent storage and distribution systems that work with the local natural resources. Some examples of their past projects include creating wells and systems to harvest rainwater. My first-hand experience with these projects will help me to develop and implement new efficient methods of increasing the quantity of water available for food production.
Along with Water Resources, I will be studying Construction Management where I will focus on learning to build attractive, low cost housing for those in need. Having an appealing and durable dwelling to come home to after a long day at work is still a dream for too many people. In his younger days, my grandfather often volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and told me of former President Jimmy Carter’s work with the organization. Their website notes that there are 100 million people without homes and two billion living in slums in the world today. Their approach to providing simple, affordable housing is an effective solution that leads to a better future for these people and their communities. The work that Habitat for Humanity has done in regions after natural disasters proves that providing shelter assistance is the foundation needed to help stricken communities bounce back from catastrophes. I plan to continue my grandfather’s volunteer efforts because their vision is one that I admire and can support with the training I will be receiving at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Using my education to meet the physiological needs of others by improving their access to clean water and affordable, attractive housing are the focal points of my commitment to improve the world and the lives of others. I, too, will be changed and learn from them. I will learn how to remain determined and never give up even when it appears that progress is slow or even non-existent at times. I will remember that baby steps are still steps forward towards a solution. I will learn that hard work in the pursuit of improving others’ lives is always worth it. I will learn different approaches to solving problems by remaining open to the ideas of others. When looking back at my life, I will judge its worth not only by my personal achievements, but also by the times I was able to be a change agent contributing to the welfare of others.
Thank you to all of our applicants. Please check out the annual Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A. Ohio Problem-Solving Scholarship for current opportunities.