08 July 2012

Alissa's story

We recently asked AguaClara alumni to share reflections on their involvement with AguaClara and how it has influenced them. I asked Alissa Diminich if I could pass along some of her reflections. Alissa rose through the ranks of the AguaClara team in the early days when we were developing our design approaches. Alissa tells the story best...
The first semester that I joined AguaClara I was on a design team aimed at troubleshooting the performance issues that were occurring at Ojojona.  Over the next year I worked on the Design team that began creating the design program that "built" the AutoCAD plant designs.  The following summer I lead that design team as we integrated the AutoCAD and Mathcad design program.  My last semester I was the AguaClara student team leader. Through my involvements with AguaClara I made some of my closest friends at Cornell and I know those are people that will always be part of my life.  My one-on-one experiences building those personal bonds was the best part.  
When I was a student, AguaClara was the project that I had a real personal drive for - it was somewhere I wanted to focus and spend time developing because it really meant something.  This was a tangible project that you could get your hands on and see how your and your team's decisions affected real life situations.
Laying the first stone at the future site of the Tamara  plant.
Jacobo Nuñez is operating the shovel.
Arturo Diaz is center.
Alissa Diminich is to the right of Arturo.

AguaClara is always new, students are always joining and graduating, and building on the work of previous students.  It's not your standard textbook problem solving - it means something and you're always the first to do something. Working on the AguaClara project gave me the best perspective on working and communicating on a real life design project in teams.  I also had great experiences learning to lead projects and be comfortable working with and in front of large groups.
When I see how much farther the team has gotten from when I was involved it's a really great feeling.  I can look at the design tool and see pieces of the floc and sed tanks that have pretty much stayed the same from when I was a student, but the rest has gone above and beyond what we had accomplished.
--- Alissa Diminich

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