Student Feature – Kate Stetina

Kate StetinaKate Stetina

M.S. Environmental Engineering

EDC Certificate Completion: May 2016

Undergraduate: University of Colorado at Boulder, B.S. Environmental Engineering

What are your hobbies outside of academic life?

I consider myself an avid outdoorswomen, and jump at the chance to spend a weekend in Colorado’s backcountry.  I backpack, hike, snowboard, climb, cycle, sail, and practice yoga.  I mostly just enjoy exploring, whether I’m at a mountain peak or a bustling foreign market.

How did you become interested in global development?

I became interested in humanitarian work as a small child, at my small alternative school that would teach lessons about helping other kids around the world.  This early passion eventually led to participation in some mission trips and an Engineers Without Borders (EWB) team in college.  My first travel experience with EWB to implement a latrine project in Peru prompted tough questions like What are we really doing here?, Are we having any long-term impact?, and How am I qualified to be walking into communities and implementing a ‘solution’ to their ‘needs’?  Rather than pushing me away from development, this doubts encouraged me to pursue a higher-level education in global development practices.

Why did you join the EDC program?

I completed some of the EDC curriculum in my undergraduate career at CU, and I wanted more.  I was highly impressed with the quality of students and faculty in the program, and the opportunities for further professional development and connections in industry that this community offers students.

What has been the most valuable thing you’ve learned from the EDC program?

I have become certain that international development is the career for me.  I am so grateful to have clear direction and excitement about a career before I even graduate.  I actually love fieldwork and the lifestyle of living in a foreign rural place, I love the theory behind it, and I love the real opportunity I have to help people in purposeful ways.

Where did you complete your practicum?

I completed my practicum with CARE in Mozambique in summer 2015.  I conducted action research about community management of rural water points, which was prompted by the high failure rates of these kinds of points in sub-Saharan Africa.  My research questions included: What are the barriers that communities face in successfully managing their water point? What are some community-level solutions?  What is effectiveness of CARE’s water committee “re-training” program?  What is the capacity of the government to support community water committees?  Is a mobile data collection platform a feasible tool for the government?

What do you hope to do after completing your EDC certificate?

I want a career in WASH 🙂


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