Advancement for Rural Kids, Inc (ARK) - New York, NY
Special Major: Sustainable Architecture
From the end of June to the end of August, I interned for a NY-based non-profit called Advancement for Rural Kids, Inc (ARK). ARK is focused on improving the health and education of elementary school children in rural areas in the developing world through grassroots, community-led initiatives. ARK currently only operates in the Philippines. Though I worked as an engineering and design intern and was focused on leading two infrastructure projects for the schools, I was involved in many aspects of running the non-profit such as grant research and pitching and in doing so, was inspired and continually reminded of the reason why what I was doing was important—the programs were,and are, measurably changing and improving the lives of children.
One of the projects I was responsible for this summer was an ecological schoolhouse design for one of ARK’s four sponsored schools. The current Pre-K and Home Economics building is dark, uninviting, in disrepair, and inadequate to meet the cooking needs of the school’s lunchtime protein and vegetable feeding program. The project is in its early stages so my work focused on research into local materials and traditional Filipino design and building practices as well as some preliminary design. I was also responsible for leading a diverse team on a rainwater catchment system at another school. The project, which is in its later stages, is a collaboration between experienced US water engineers, a Philippines-based ecological design and building firm, college chemical engineering researchers, and, of course, the community and volunteers.