Home > OUR STUDENTS > William Cunningham

William Cunningham

Project Title

Human-centered Design with Haiti

Project Description

 I am part of the research team of Professor Taflanidis and Professor Kijewski-Correa, working with other undergraduate engineering students to address an issue that has been identified by one of the "innovation clubs" in Léogâne, Haiti. These clubs were organized through the organization Engineering2Empower (E2E), which professors Taflanidis and Dr. Kijewski-Correa helped found. Challenges identified by the innovation clubs include "How might we better protect our wells from contamination?" and "How might we reduce the amount of trash on our streets and in our canals?" Both of these questions apply to the Grand Challenges — Providing Access to Clean Water and Restoring and Improving Urban Infrastructure.

Department Affiliation

Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

Courses Related to My Project

I plan to take the "International Development in Practice" course this fall. It deals with public policy, ethics, and human behavior  and will provide me the opportunity to gain further real-world experience through collaborations with development organizations around the world.

I am recently completed a course called "Heart's Desire and Social Change," which focuses on ethics and human behavior. The central theme of this class is essentially "How do the deepest longings of my heart connect to the deepest needs of the world?"

Business/Entrepreneurship Opportunities

It is possible that my project with Professor Taflanidis could result in the formation of a business plan. Another student on the E2E team is currently working with the Notre Dame IDEA center to create a business model that is centered around access to dignified sanitation.

Global Perspective

In addition to my research in Haiti, I will be spending the entire upcoming summer developing a multicultural/global perspective through the Center for Social Concerns' International Summer Service Learning Program (ISSLP). I will be working at a children's home in Trujillo, Honduras, teaching 9th-grade math and English, 8th-grade English, and special education. I will also be leading a boys’ bible study/small group. This 10-week immersion in a new country with a new culture will develop my global perspective.

Community Engagement

Both the planned research in Haiti and my upcoming summer experience in Honduras are closely connected with social consciousness and community engagement. I hope to gain skills, wisdom, and humility through both of these experiences that will shape who I am as a person and as an engineer.