Context Sensitive Resource Recovery Systems

Reclaim at USF is working to determine if effective, geographically- and culturally-appropriate engineered systems can be established to utilize wastewater as a resource for the recovery of energy, water, and nutrients. This research is part of a program funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation designed to initiate a cultural shift in university programs, developing international competence and building capacity through global partnerships.

  • partners compilation uvi dominant with Belize

    Integrated water and energy systems are fundamental to social, economic, and environmental well-being and prosperity. The increasing difficulty of managing water and energy resources is manifested in several grand challenges identified by the National Academy of Engineering and various global action plans that seek to ensure environmental sustainability and develop global partnerships. Unfortunately, the failure to integrate water and energy concerns with appropriate cultural models of local knowledge, institutions, and resources limits on-the-ground effectiveness and positive environmental impact.

    The goal of this National Science Foundation, Partners for International Research and Education (PIRE) grant is to initiate a cultural shift in our individual and university research and education programs toward developing international research competence and building capacity through global partnerships. Our proposed framework for sustainable water-energy systems integrates adapting engineering systems to environmental and cultural changes associated with growth in human populations, urbanization, and resource consumption. We also focus on the interstices of geographical context, cultural analysis, and scale. Our overarching research question is: can effective, geographically-appropriate, and culturally relevant engineered systems be established that utilize wastewater as a resource for recovery of energy, water, and nutrients?

    Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) is an NSF-wide program that supports international activities across all NSF supported disciplines. The primary goal of PIRE is to support high quality projects in which advances in research and education could not occur without international collaboration. PIRE seeks to catalyze a higher level of international engagement in the U.S. science and engineering community.

    International partnerships are essential to addressing critical science and engineering problems. In the global context, U.S. researchers and educators must be able to operate effectively in teams with partners from different nations and cultural backgrounds. PIRE promotes excellence in science and engineering through international collaboration and facilitates development of a diverse, globally-engaged, U.S. science and engineering workforce.


    This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1243510. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. “Reclaim” is an initiative led by the University of South Florida Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Anthropology, and Marine Science, to share news about joint research related to the reclamation of nutrient, energy, and water resources from waste.

    • 1. Energy and nutrient recovery from anaerobic based wastewater/recovery systems

      Anaerobic bioreactor

      Anaerobic membrane bioreactor

      Anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBR) have several advantages over traditional aerobic membrane bioreactors. In general MBRs need a relatively small physical footprint and eliminate the need for clarifiers in wastewater treatment. When operated anaerobically they can also produce biogas. An additional way to reduce energy needs in an AnMBR is with a gas lift system. Here we plan to determine the optimal operating conditions of a gas lift AnMBR (GL-AnMBR) and develop a with an energy surplus.

      Small scale anaerobic digestion systems also hold great potential for decentralized wastewater treatment. However, anaerobic digesters often fail due to poor design, high capital costs, maintenance issues, etc. A goal for this PIRE is to develop guidelines for economically and sustainable design and use of small-scale anaerobic digesters that treat and recover resources from human and agricultural wastes.

      Wastewater contains valuable nutrients for agricultural applications. In many areas outside the U.S. wastewater is used as a water sources and fertilizer to monopolize on these resources. Unfortunately there is a high risk of contracting gastrointestinal diseases associated with this practice, specifically the presence of Ascaris lumbricoides eggs. For this PIRE, anaerobic digestion will be explored as a method to inactivate Ascaris eggs ideally allowing for reuse of the digestate and reduced risks of infection.

    • 2. Resource recovery from algal-based wastewater systems

      Algae grown on wastewater can aid the treatment process by adding oxygen to the water and facilitating removal of some organics and nutrients. The algal biomass can then be harvested and converted into fuels like biodiesel and methane or products like animal feed and polymers. The classic pathway is producing biodiesel through lipid extraction. Another pathway is biogas production through anaerobic co-digestion of algae and municipal wastewater sludge. Research will be done to determine the algal growth kinetics and the potential production of bioenergy products from these pathways.

      Lagoon type treatment systems which benefit from the algal growth can be reused as a source of water and fertilizer. However, lagoon water may contain pathogenic organisms.  Here we will determine methods for removing pathogens such as Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidium oocyts, rotavirus (RV), and human adenovirus (HAdV).


      Macrophytes harvested from a wastewater stabilization pond in Bolivia are reused for animal feed and soil amendment


    • 3. Social and cultural contexts of technology innovation

      For this research task, four research questions will be addressed. The first two questions concern cultural acceptability and perceptions of water and wastewater across distinct populations. Culture heavily influences how people evaluate the benefits and risks of new technologies. The second two questions concern institutional strategies and responses. Many different management strategies exist but they must be locally aligned and culturally appropriate for success. Surveys will be developed to measure perceptions about reusing nutrients from wastewater. In later years these instruments will be applied to additional partner sites. Comparisons between sites will help develop a better understanding of how to appropriately pair wastewater treatment technologies with communities for long term acceptance.  Ultimately the data collected from different field sites will be used to inform on the perceived benefits and risks to using products generated by AD and wastewater lagoons.


    • 4. Impact of integrated resource recovery of wastewater on coastal water quality

      Photo from Frank Muller-Karger

      Photo from Frank Muller-Karger

      Many coastal waters have become seriously impaired over the last 20 years partially due to insufficient or improper treatment of wastewater and stormwater run-off. One motivation for developing and implementing the technologies in our research  is to protect coastal waters from additional degradation. Before it is clear that these technologies will improve coastal water quality baseline data is needed. Research will help establish that baseline using remote sensing techniques for Tampa, Fl and the associated field sites. This PIRE research will combine data collected on coastal areas with data collected on the resource recovery systems. Collectively this information will be used as a tool to  explore future scenarios of population growth and how choices for wastewater management technologies impact coastal water quality.

    • 5. Integration across life cycle of systems

      Life cycle assessment (LCA) is the process of considering a product or process over the all life stages such that adverse affects are decreased, not simply shifted to a different life stage. Wastewater treatments systems have been studied with this type of systems thinking. However, LCA has typically been applied to centralized systems that do limited resource recovery. LCA has not been completed on treatment systems which recover multiple resources, nor has previous research considered the complexities of wastewater treatment on a variety of scales. This PIRE will complete LCAs on anaerobic and algal-based recovery systems at multiple scales under varied geographical and cultural contexts. The information gained will help identify the scale and geographical context at which these resource recovery technologies have the lowest environmental impact.

      Embodied Energy characterization of two wastewater treatment systems using SimaPro. Photo from Pablo Cornejo-Warner

      Embodied Energy characterization of two wastewater treatment systems using SimaPro. Photo from Pablo Cornejo-Warner

    • 6. Integration across engineering, social, and environmental systems

      causal loop diagram

      Basic causal loop diagram (courtesy of Qiong Zhang)


      Systems dynamics is a technique to analyze the behavior of complex systems. In this research system dynamics will be used to elucidate the dynamic relationships between the engineering, social, and environmental components of anaerobic and algal-based wastewater recovery systems. Information gathered from research tasks 1-4 will be integrated into a causal loop diagram to help illustrate the relationships between factors. This conceptual model will provide an understanding of the complex relationships and hopefully help with policy decisions.

  • Task 1: Energy and nutrient recovery from anaerobic based wastewater/recovery systems

    Prieto, Ana Lucia, Futselaar, Harry, Lens, Piet N.L., Bair, Robert, Yeh, Daniel H. Development and start up of a gas-lift anaerobic membrane bioreactor (gl-anmbr) for conversion of sweage to energy, water and nutrients. Journal of Membrane Science, (in press, accepted manuscript), 2013. 

    Gao, Da-Wen, et al. Membrane fouling in an anaerobic membrane bioreactor: Differences in relative abundance of bacterial species in the membrane foulant layer and in suspension. Journal of Membrane Science 364(1):331-338, 2010.

    Task 2: Energy, nutrient, and water recovery from wastewater treatment/recovery systems.

    Verbyla, M. E., Oakley, S. M., & Mihelcic, J. R. Wastewater infrastructure for small cities in an urbanizing world: Integrating the protection of human health and the environment with resource recovery and food security. Environmental Science & Technology, 47(8):3598-3605, 2013.

    Udom, Innocent, et al. Harvesting microalgae grown on wastewater. Bioresource technology 139:101-106, 2013.

    Fuchs, V.J., Gierke, J.S., Mihelcic, J.R., “Laboratory investigation of ammonium and nitrate removal in vertical flow regimes in planted and unplanted wetland columns,” Journal of Environmental Engineering, 138:1227-1230, 2012.

    Mihelcic, J.R., Fry, L.M., Shaw, R. Global potential of phosphorus recovery from human urine and feces. Chemosphere 84(6):832-839, 2011.

    Kumar, Amit, et al. Enhanced CO 2 fixation and biofuel production via microalgae: recent developments and future directions. Trends in biotechnology 28(7): 371-380, 2010.

    Kumar, Amit, et al. A hollow fiber membrane photo‐bioreactor for CO2 sequestration from combustion gas coupled with wastewater treatment: a process engineering approach. Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology 85(3): 387-394, 2010.

    Mehl, J., D.A. Gibson, R. Izurieta, J. Kaiser, D. Hurtado, J. R. Mihelcic, “Pathogen Destruction and Solids Decomposition in Composting Latrines:  Study of Fundamental Mechanisms and User Operation in Rural Panama,”  Journal of Water and Health, 9(1):187-99, 2010.

    Rosario, Karyna, et al. Pepper mild mottle virus as an indicator of fecal pollution. Applied and environmental microbiology 75(22): 7261-7267, 2009.

    Symonds, Erin M., Dale W. Griffin, and Mya Breitbart. Eukaryotic viruses in wastewater samples from the United States. Applied and environmental microbiology 75(5): 1402-1409, 2009.

    Task 3: Social and cultural contexts of technology innovation.

    Alexandridis, Kostas, and Yiheyis Maru. “Collapse and reorganization patterns of social knowledge representation in evolving semantic networks.” Information Sciences (2012).

    Wells, E. C. Water and worldview in Honduras: stakeholder strategies for resource management in periurban communities, Conservation and Society, (in review), 2012.

    Wells, E. C., Davis-Salazar, K.L, Kuehn, D.D. Soilscape legacies: historical and emerging consequences of socioecological interactions in Honduras. In Living on the Land: The Complex Relationship between Population and Agriculture in the Americas (eds: Wingard, J., Hayes, S), University Press of Colorado, Boulder, (in press), 2012.

    Wright Wendel, H.E., R.A. Zarger, J.R. Mihelcic, “Accessibility and Usability: Green Space Preferences, Perceptions, and Barriers in a Rapidly Urbanizing City in Latin America,” Landscape and Urban Planning, 107(3):272-282, 2012.

    Zarger, R.K., Akiwumi, F., Lewis, D., Larsen, G., Adjei, C., Landry, S. The power of perceptions: hydroecological change and water redistribution in Tampa Bay, paper presented at the Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meetings, Baltimore, MD, March 27-31, 2012.

    Whiteford, Linda M. “Water: Towards a culture of responsibility.” Global Public Health 7.4: 432-433, 2012.

    Lewis, D.B., Zarger, R.K., Landry, S.M., Akiwumi, F.A., Rains, M.C., Crisman, T.L., Bell, S.S., Trettin, C.C. Urban development, power relations, and water redistribution as drivers of wetland change in the Tampa Bay Region socioecosystem, presented at Intl. Assn. for Landscape Ecology, Portland, OR, April 3-7, 2011.

    Wright Wendel, H.E., J.A. Downs, J.R. Mihelcic, “Assessing Equitable Access to Urban Green Space: The Role of Engineered Water Infrastructure,” Environmental Science & Technology, 45 (16):728–6734, 2011.

    Fry, L.M., J.R. Mihelcic, D.W. Watkins, “Water and Non-Water-Related Challenges of Achieving Global Sanitation Coverage,” Environmental Science & Technology, 42(4): 4298-4304, 2008.

    Wells, E.C., Davis-Salazar, K.L. “Environmental worldview and ritual economy among the Honduran Lenca,” Research in Economic Anthropology, 27:189-217, 2008.

    Mihelcic, J.R. J.B. Zimmerman, A. Ramaswami, “Integrating Developed and Developing World Knowledge into Global Discussions and Strategies for Sustainability.  Part 1: Science and Technology,” Environmental Science & Technology, 41(10):3415-3421, 2007.

    Ramaswami, R., J.B. Zimmerman, J.R. Mihelcic, “Integrating Developed and Developing World Knowledge into Global Discussions and Strategies for Sustainability.  Part 2: Economics and Governance,” Environmental Science & Technology, 41(10):3422-3430, 2007. sustainability_strategies_p2.pdf

    Stepp, John Richard, et al. “Remarkable properties of human ecosystems.”Conservation Ecology 7.3 (2003): 11.

    Whiteford, L.M. “Water insecurity and infectious disease,” International Review of  Comparative Public Policy, 11:63-82, 1999.

    Task 4: Impact of integrated resource recovery of wastewater on coastal water quality.

    Brandt, Marilyn E., et al. Disturbance Driven Colony Fragmentation as a Driver of a Coral Disease Outbreak. PloS one 8(2): e57164, 2013.

    Enrique Montes, et al. Sources of δ15N variability in sinking particulate nitrogen in the Cariaco Basin,Venezuela. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography (in press, accepted manuscript), 2013.

    Brandt, Marilyn E., et al. “Dynamics of an Acute Coral Disease Outbreak Associated with the Macroalgae Dictyota spp. in Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, USA.” Bulletin of Marine Science 88(4): 1035-1050, 2012.

    Palumbi, Stephen R., et al. The role of genes in understanding the evolutionary ecology of reef building corals. Evolutionary Ecology 26(2): 317-335, 2012.

    Taylor, Gordon T., et al. Ecosystem responses in the southern Caribbean Sea to global climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109(47): 19315-19320, 2012.

    Hu, Chuanmin, et al. Remote detection of Trichodesmium blooms in optically complex coastal waters: Examples with MODIS full-spectral data. Remote Sensing of Environment 114(9): 2048-2058, 2010.

    Brandt, Marilyn E., and John W. McManus. Disease incidence is related to bleaching extent in reef-building corals. Ecology 90(10): 2859-2867, 2009.

    Task 5: Integration across life cycle of systems.

    Mo, W. & Zhang, Q. “Can municipal wastewater treatment systems be carbon neutral?” Journal of Environmental Management, 112:360-7, 2012.

    Fuchs, V.J., J.R. Mihelcic, J.S. Gierke, “Life Cycle Assessment Of Vertical And Horizontal Flow Constructed Wetlands For Wastewater Treatment Considering Nitrogen And Carbon Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” Water Research,  45(5):2073-81, 2011.

    Mo, W., Q. Zhang, J.R. Mihelcic, D. Hokanson, “Embodied Energy Comparison of Surface Water and Groundwater Supply Options,” Water Research, 45(17): 5577-5586, 2011.

    Task 6: Integration across engineering, social, and environmental systems.

    Fuchs, V.J. and J.R. Mihelcic, “Analyzing appropriateness in sanitation projects in the Alto Beni Region of Bolivia,” Waterlines, 30(2): 122-134, 2011. 00000002/art00005

    Guest, J.S., S.J. Skerlos, J.L. Barnard, M.B. Beck, G.T. Daigger, H. Hilger, S.J. Jackson, K. Karvazy, L. Kelly, L. Macpherson, J.R. Mihelcic, A. Pramanik, L. Raskin, M. C. M. van Loosdrecht, D.l Yeh, N.G. Love, “A New Planning and Design Paradigm to Achieve Sustainable Resource Recovery from Wastewater,” Environmental Science & Technology, 43, 6126–6130, 2009.

    Muga, H.E. and J.R. Mihelcic, “Sustainability of Wastewater Treatment Technologies,” Journal of Environmental Management, 88: 437-447, 2008.

    McConville, J.R., and J.R. Mihelcic, “Adapting Life Cycle Thinking Tools to Evaluate Project Sustainability in International Water and Sanitation Development Work,” Environmental Engineering Science, 24(7):937-948, 2007.

    Other Related Papers

    Fry, L.M., Watkins, D.W. Reents, N., Rowe, M.D., Mihelcic, J.R. “Climate Change and Development Impacts on the Sustainability of Spring-fed Water Supply Systems in the Alto Beni Region of Bolivia,”  Journal Hydrology,  468–469: 120–129, 2012.

    Zimmerman, J.B., J.R. Mihelcic, J.A. Smith, “Global Stressors on Water Quality and Quantity: Sustainability, Technology Selection, and Governance in a Dynamic World,” Environmental Science & Technology, 42(4):4247-4254, 2008.

    Books for Reference

    A companion to medical anthropology

    Whiteford, Linda M. and Padros, Cecilia Vindrola “Chapter 10. The Medical Anthropology of Water.” in A Companion to Medical Anthropology. Merrill Singer, Pamela I. Erickson (Eds.), Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.




    The anthropology of learning in childhoodZarger, R. K. (2010). Learning the environment. in The Anthropology of Learning in Childhood (eds: Lancy, D., Bock, J., Gaskins, S.), pp 341-369. AltaMira Press, Lanham, MD.




    ethnobiology-textbookZarger, R. K. (2011). Learning ethnobiology: creating knowledge, skills and practice about the living world, in Ethnobiology (ed: Anderson, E. Hunn, E., Pearsall, D., Turner, N., Wiley and Sons Publishers, New York, NY.




    globalization water and health book imageWhiteford, L. M., Whiteford, S. (eds.) 2005. Globalization, Water and Health: Resources in Times of Scarcity. School of American Research Press, Santa Fe, NM.




    Trotz et al.  “Chapter 2. Water: Foundation for a Sustainable Future” in The Chemical Element. Chemistry’s Contribution to Our Global Future, J. García-Martínez, E. Serrano (Eds.), Wiley-VCH, 2011.




    Zhang, Q., et al. “Chapter 8: A Review of Life Cycle Assessment Studies on Renewable Energy from Forest Resources,” in Renewable Energy from Forest Resources in the U.S., (Editors: B.D. Solomon and V. Luzadis), Routledge, 2008.




    Theses and Dissertations

    Boxman, S. (2013). Evaluation of a pilot land-based marine integrated aquaculture system. University of South Florida. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 181.

    Galvin, C. (2013). Embodied energy and carbon footprint of household latrines in rural peru: The impact of integrating resource recovery. University of South Florida.

    Hadley, S. N. (2013). Assessment of a modified double agar layer method to detect bacteriophage for assessing the potential of wastewater reuse in rural bolivia. University of South Florida. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 125.

    Jalalizadeh, M. (2012). Development of an integrated process model for algae growth in a photobioreactor. University of South Florida. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 87.

    Mo, W. (2012). Water’s Dependence on Energy: Analysis of Embodied Energy in Water and Wastewater Systems. University of South Florida. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 345.

    Verbyla, M. E. (2012). Assessing the reuse potential of wastewater for irrigation: The removal of helminth eggs from a UASB reactor and stabilization ponds in bolivia. University of South Florida. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 116.

  • Journal Articles

    Feldman, Allan, Kent A. Divoll, and Allyson, Rogan‐Klyve. “Becoming Researchers: The Participation of Undergraduate and Graduate Students in Scientific Research Groups.” Science Education 97.2 (2013): 218-243.

    Feldman, Allan, et al. “Inquiry-Based Science Education as Multiple Outcome Interdisciplinary Research and Learning (MOIRL).” Science Education International 23.4 (2012): 328-337.

    Lee, Hyunju, Allan Feldman, and Ian D. Beatty. “Factors that Affect Science and Mathematics Teachers’ Initial Implementation of Technology-Enhanced Formative Assessment Using a Classroom Response System.” Journal of Science Education and Technology 21.5 (2012): 523-539.

    McKayle, Camille and Stolz, Robert, Interdisciplinary Curricular Innovations at the University of the Virgin Islands, Contributed Paper Session in Mathematical Biology, Joint Mathematics Meetings, San Francisco, January, 2010.

    Mihelcic, J.R. & Trotz, M.A. (2010). “Sustainability and the environmental engineer: implications for education, research, and practice,” in Environmental Engineer: Applied Research and Practice, Vol. I, Winter, 2009, in Environmental Engineer, the Magazine of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers, 27-34.

    Feldman, Allan, Kent Divoll, and Allyson Rogan‐Klyve. “Research education of new scientists: Implications for science teacher education.” Journal of Research in Science Teaching 46.4 (2009): 442-459.

    Hokanson, D.R., J.R. Mihelcic, L.D. Phillips, “Educating Engineers in the Sustainable Futures Model with a Global Perpective: Education, Research & Diversity Initiatives,” International Journal of Engineering Education, 23(2):254-265, 2007. 00000023/00000002/art00008

    Mihelcic, J.R., L.D. Phillips, D.W. Watkins, “Integrating a Global Perspective into Engineering Education & Research:  Engineering International Sustainable Development,” Environmental Engineering Science, 23(3):426-438, 2006.

    Mihelcic, J.R. “Educating Tomorrow’s Global Engineer through a Unique Partnership with the U.S. Peace Corps,” Woman Engineer, 30-33, Fall, 2004.

    Books for Reference

    Mihelcic, J.R., “The Right Thing to Do: Graduate Education and Research in a Global and Human Context,” in What Is Global Engineering Education For? The Making of International and Global Engineering Educators (Eds: G.L. Downey and K. Beddoes), Morgan & Claypool Publishers, San Francisco, pg 235-250, 2010.



    Mihelcic, J.R. and D.R. Hokanson, “Educational Solutions: For a more Sustainable Future,” in Environmental Solutions, Eds: N.L. Nemerow and F.J. Agardy, Elsevier, pg. 25-58, 2005.





    Mihelcic Env Eng for Development WorkersMihelcic, J.R., E.A. Myre, L.M. Fry, L.D. Phillips, B.D. Barkdoll. Field Guide in Environmental Engineering for Development Workers: Water, Sanitation, Indoor Air, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Press, Reston, VA, 2009.





    Mihelcic Fundamentals of Env Eng copyMihelcic, J.R. Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering, 335 pages, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York, 1999.






    Mihelcic Fundamentos de Ingenieria copyMihelcic, J.R. Fundamentos de Ingenieria Ambiental, 384 pages, Limusa Wiley, Balderas, Mexico, 2001.






    CoverMihelcic Engenharia Ambiental copyMihelcic, J.R., J.B. Zimmerman, Environmental Engineering: Fundamentals, Sustainability, Design, John Wiley & Sons, 2010. (translated into Portuguese)

  • Our PIRE program provides substantive two way international research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, post docs, and career so they are immersed in research topics of global importance that provide unique advantages of context, scale, and facilities.

    According to the National Academy of Sciences (2004), “the inherent complexity of nature and society, the desire to explore problems and questions that are not confined to a single discipline, and the need to solve societal problems” has driven the rapid integration of interdisciplinary thinking into research.  This type of thinking is critical for solving today’s grand challenges, as outlined by National Academy of Sciences and the UN Millennium Development Goals.  We envision that our international collaborations will catalyze the transfer of best ideas and practices so that participants experience bidirectional information transmission—the developed and developing worlds, and the past and present—informing one another and leading to innovations through mutually-beneficial transfers of knowledge (Zarger & Stepp, 2004; Mihelcic et al., 2007; Ramaswami et al., 2007).

    One goal of ours is for participants to understand their transformation to internationally competent researchers.  Our trainees will develop international competence and capability to seamlessly work across borders, institutions, agencies, and various stakeholder groups (NSF, 2006; Vanasupa et al., 2006; Cutler and Borrego, 2011). To develop this type of thinking, we have developed a program that includes the following:

    USF World

    NSF Office of International Science & Engineering Opportunities for Students and Faculty

    Fulbright Scholar Program

    Jefferson Science Fellowship

    Fellows spend one year at the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for an on-site assignment in Washington, D.C. that may also involve extended stays at U.S. foreign embassies and/or missions.

    Graduate Certificate in Water, Health, Sustainability

    Research Experience for Undergraduates – Globalization and Community Health: Combining Social Science and Engineering

    The REU Site “Globalization and Community Health: Combining Social Science and Engineering” provides undergraduate students with intensive interdisciplinary methodological and ethics training, mentorship, and practical experience in the conduct of community-based health research that brings together social sciences and civil and environmental engineering. The program is conducted in Monteverde, Costa Rica, a region that is undergoing rapid changes associated with globalization in general, and tourism specifically, and where the PI-team has worked for the past ten years in close association with the Monteverde Institute and a variety of local stakeholders.  Each year the program involves 10 undergraduate students from engineering, medical anthropology, public health, and other health-related fields.

    Peace Corps Master’s International Program in Civil & Environmental Engineering

    Peace Corps Master’s International students gain a global perspective while performing research in an international context of economic, social, and environmental limitations (Mihelcic et al., 2006; Hokanson et al., 2007). The resulting research has been published in peer-reviewed journals (e.g., McConville & Mihelcic, 2007; Mehl et al., 2011; Owens et al., 2011; Mihelcic et al., 2011; Held et al., 2012; Manser and Mihelcic, 2013) Note that Peace Corps funds the international training and field experience for 2+ years.  Peace Corps’ unique training to build international competence.  This training occurs during the first 2-3 months of a student’s arrival in country and consists of: (1) half day language immersions; (2) home-stay with a local family (after training, students either continue home-stays or move to private lodging in the local community); (3) techniques of “participatory approaches to community assessment” that include mapping and participatory management of projects; (4) training on how to incorporate gender, cultural context, and ethics into a project; and, (5) technical training.

    Advanced Biological Waste-to-Energy Technologies

    AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships

    U.S. Department of State Fellowships

    USAID Science, Technology, Innovation

    University of South Florida Patel College of Global Sustainability