Home > OUR STUDENTS > Hannah Gillespie

Hannah Gillespie

Project Title

Human-Centered Design with Haiti

Project Description

My research team seeks to increase local access to clean water in Léogâne, Haiti. The team is composed of students in mechanical, civil, and environmental engineering, Associate Professors Alex Taflanidis and Tracy Kijewski-Correa, and community leaders in Léogâne. These community leaders direct a series of “innovation clubs” in Léogâne through Engineering2Empower, an organization originally created by Associate Professors Taflanidis and Kijewski-Correa following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to increase community resiliency to natural disasters.

Through a human-centered design thinking approach, we work to understand, ideate, and implement solutions to the water crisis in Léogâne. In order to comprehend current household water practices, we utilize surveys, observational studies, and focus groups to talk with community members and categorize common trends. We have identified several critical opportunities for improvement: a lack of ability to properly diagnose water sources, improper or unpopular treatment methods due to lack of alternatives, and practical difficulties of waiting in lines or traveling long distances to get to a safe source. The team is now beginning the ideation phase of our project. We will conduct brainstorming sessions and begin prototyping solutions with students on campus along with community members in Léogâne. A true solution must be economically sustainable and maintained by the community independent of our contributions following an initial launching period.

Department Affiliation

Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering