The AguaClara program in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University provides an opportunity for Environmental Master of Engineering students to learn about and to invent planet (and people) friendly, sustainable water and wastewater technologies. The program is designed for students who are passionate about making the world a better place and who are preparing for professional careers as innovators and leaders. Recent graduates are employed by: Arcadis, Black & Veatch, Brown and Caldwell, CH2M, ERM, GHD, Veolia North America as well as water departments of major cities, startup consulting, UNEP, and more.
The Master of Engineering program uniquely combines graduate courses with hands on collaborative learning and client-focused innovation in the AguaClara laboratory. The Master of Engineering degree can be completed in either two or three semesters. Share this with your friends and apply now. Contact Monroe Weber-Shirk, founder and director of AguaClara, with any questions you have about joining our community of learners and innovators
The 18 AguaClara student project teams research, invent, design, fabricate, and test novel solutions for global water environmental challenges. AguaClara was one of the very first open source engineering teams. The open source model has accelerated the innovation cycle and the team creates many new inventions every year. The AguaClara designs are created by the team using a novel parametric design scheme that connects engineering design code with 3-D AutoCAD and automated report generation.
More than 50,000 people are already benefiting from the next generation of municipal water treatment technologies invented by the Cornell AguaClara student teams and built in Honduras by Agua Para el Pueblo. The team is working to share these advanced technologies with other countries including the United States.
Our inventions and designs are based on a deep understanding of fluid dynamics, particle interactions, and reactor geometry. Our curiosity and passion for safe water on tap has led to the first 2 m deep, self-cleaning, zero settled sludge, sedimentation tank that contains both a fluidized bed of flocs and plate settlers.
The team has received numerous EPA P3 awards and is developing arsenic and fluoride removal technologies for an EPA P3 Phase II award. The goal is to test those technologies in India by the summer of 2018. The team is researching high rate anaerobic wastewater treatment with the goal of piloting an anaerobic fluidized bed reactor in the field in the near future.
As a team member you will gain project management experience, team work skills, and experience applying your engineering skills. The AguaClara lab space includes state-of-the-art custom-designed workstations for computer controlled experiments with easily configured software and hardware. Student teams design and build experimental apparatus and prototypes using a well stocked supply of components and tools.
In 2016 student teams fabricated the first 1 L/s portable water treatment plant using AguaClara technologies. This novel, ultra low energy, village-scale, drinking water treatment plant will be field tested in Honduras beginning in January of 2017. This new technology has global applications for demonstrating AguaClara technologies, rapid provision of safe water after disasters, as well as sustainable infrastructure for hundreds of thousands of small towns and villages that lack access to safe drinking water.
You will be invited to join an engineering in context trip during the January intersession to tour AguaClara drinking water treatment facilities and to demonstrate new technologies to our Honduran partner organization, Agua Para el Pueblo. There will be opportunities to help with plant maintenance and upgrades as well as opportunities to learn to know community members who have become advocates for safe water on tap.
What do students and employers say about Cornell's AguaClara program?
“The Cornell Masters of Engineering program is one of our top recruiting locations. The students are well prepared due to the technical knowledge and analytical problem-solving capabilities which they learn. But it’s the self-motivation, oral & written communication skills, team-building and leadership skills which they learn that make them excellent consultants and allow them to quickly progress within our organization. Additionally, those involved with the AguaClara program have a passion for improving quality of life which is essential for being a successful environmental engineer.”
(VP at Global Engineering Consulting Firm)
Whenever I’m talking to coworkers or friends who are job hunting, I’ve found that AguaClara always comes up since it was one of the most influential and important parts of my college experience. I definitely attribute most of the skills that helped me start my career to my experience with AguaClara and I can’t thank you enough for providing such a great learning environment for me and everyone else who has been a part of the program. The combination of hands-on research, technical report writing, and oral presentations is a great structure to develop important skills needed in the real world. The fact that AguaClara’s research impacts and helps real communities made me super excited that a class I’m taking at school can actually have a positive effect on someone and not just be problems from a textbook.(Vicky)
AguaClara has been the most enriching experience at Cornell in terms of academic quality and practical experience. The entire team believes in knowledge transfer and promotes open learning which is very conducive in building sound concepts along with hands-on problem solving capabilities. While working with AguaClara, I learnt the actual significance and application of sustainability in socio-economic context. All the teams associated with Cornell with Professor Weber-Shirk at the helm, are a group of very talented and innovative students and I have learnt a lot from them. (Guneet)"
AguaClara provided me with hands on experience collaborating with students and faculty of many different disciplines to develop and implement new technologies with an immediate impact on people's lives. The overall experience was incredibly powerful and something you could not get from a typical engineering curriculum." (Bradshaw)
Teamwork. I learned how important working together was and communication. I also learned that valuable lesson that you can still (and should) have fun and love what you're doing while making a difference in the world from the joy and passion of other AguaClara members. (Marianne)
I enjoyed the hands-on learning and seeing innovation rapidly deployed to improve lives. I was able to apply knowledge gained in the classroom in the real-world immediately, without having to wait until graduation or even years after that. (Jeff)
It was my first real experience working on a long - term independent project not associated with class or a job. It was helpful preparing for graduate school (Brianne)
I worked on the design team in the early stages of developing the automated design tool. I loved creating a product that I knew was immediately being used to solve a problem. Learning how to take suggestions from the engineers in the field and incorporate it in a meaningful way was very valuable. (Heather)
Everything that our teams in AguaClara at Cornell do, is transferred into plants in Honduras that work and treat water for a dozen towns. (Juan)