Notre Dame Students Empowering through Engineering Development (NDSEED) was formed in February 2008 at the University of Notre Dame when six civil engineering students decided to combine their academic interests with their passion for service in support of their university’s mission. Inspired by the example of Continental Crossings, a group of students from the University of Iowa, NDSEED formed a partnership with the non-profit organization Bridges to Prosperity (B2P) to empower a rural Honduran community with a footbridge in the summer of 2009, providing much needed access to healthcare, education and marketplaces. Since those humble beginnings, NDSEED is now officially part of the B2P university program, and, enabled by their training, material donations, mentoring, policies and programming, has gone on to build bridges alongside eight communities in three Central American countries.
This summer's Nicaragua traveling team is: Savannah Washlesky (Project Manager), Frankie Forsberg (Bridge Engineer), Keelan Rushing (Quality Control Engineer), Emily Reeve (Construction Manager), Carlos Nazario (Safety Manager), Peter McGrane (Operations Manager), Meg Garcia Shepherd (Community Relations Manager), and Eric Duarte (Research Director). This summer's Bolivia traveling team is: Alex Bonino and Camila Gonzalez. The non-traveling volunteer course assistants for this year are Brittany Margritz, Annelise Gill-Wiehl, Andrea Oviedo, and Christianos Burlotos.
Poverty caused by rural isolation is a serious problem in Nicaragua, throughout Central America, and across the globe. Each year during the rainy season, rivers flood, cutting off communities from schools, employment, hospitals, markets, and churches. NDSEED, along with our partner organization B2P, has enlisted in the fight against isolation poverty. When we travel to Nicaragua each summer, we do not merely build a bridge for a community, we build a bridge WITH a community. While we provide technical oversight and quality control, we work alongside local masons and community laborers to get the job done, empowering the local community. NDSEED also has tremendous impacts on its members here at the University of Notre Dame. This project exposes us to the infrastructural challenges that exist around the globe and has challenged many engineers to look beyond our country and pursue careers in building a better world. So please, help the community of Las Pencas build a bridge this summer and foster a sense of global responsibility within the next generation of America's engineers by donating to NDSEED! Your generous donations will be applied to construction materials, student airfare, attendance of the annual Bridges to Prosperity (B2P) University Conference, per diem costs in country, and oversight fees to B2P. We greatly appreciate your help in providing the community of Las Pencas, Nicaragua with a bridge this summer!