Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Academic Year 2016-17 ABP Projects


Columbia Raíz – Ecuador

Project Leaders: Maria Pereira and Erika Inoue

Columbia Raíz will help the non-profit organization Fundación Raíz in legitimizing the CAEMBA house model in the Ecuadorian provinces of Esmeraldas and Manabí through research. The CAEMBA house model is a progressive, low-cost, and anti-seismic bamboo home.

More about Columbia Raíz ...

Columbia Raíz is a project that seeks to assist Fundación Raíz in the process of legitimising their CAEMBA house model through research that will be conducted from March 9 to March 19, 2017 in the provinces of Esmeraldas and Manabí in Ecuador. Fundación Raíz is a non-profit foundation in Quito dedicated to assisting disaster survivors in their efforts of recovery. Their main project focuses on the CAEMBA house model, a progressive, low-cost, anti-seismic bamboo home designed over trial and error in response to Ecuador's April earthquake victims. The aim of Columbia Raíz is to offer assistance on research pertaining to engineering, economic development and psychosocial, post- disaster recovery. We seek to improve and address the limits of the model while bringing to light the ways in which CAEMBA helps survivors and their families reestablish economic, family, and urban life. With improvements and empirical evidence, Fundación Raíz will be closer to achieving their own goal of promoting the CAEMBA house model, within Ecuador and internationally.

CU STRIVE - New York, New York

Project Leaders: Ayesha Firdous and Kanako Mori

CU STRIVE mentors and tutors youth from New York City with sickle cell disease.

More about CU STRIVE...

CU STRIVE, which mentors and tutors youth from New York City with sickle cell disease, is partnering up with various inner-city high schools to highlight the problem of chronic absenteeism related to sickle cell disease, such as hospitalizations due to pain crises, and other chronic conditions. The team will run workshops for students, administrators and parents to bring up advocacy for the issue of chronic absenteeism under unavoidable circumstances and to promote the adoption of the federally mandated, 504 Plan as a means to support the students with chronic conditions with provisions that will help them success. The 504 Plan is a federal provision that guarantees support to students with chronic conditions to help them perform on par with their peers. The workshops will aim to raise awareness about what the 504 Plan is, who is eligible and how to self-advocate to ensure that the 504 Plan is enacted for the students who need it. The workshops for the administrators will highlight the importance of providing support to students with chronic conditions. In this way, CU STRIVE will empower the students to be aware of their rights and sensitize the administrators to the importance of the 504 Plan to address the issue of absenteeism more concretely.

There is Hope Campaign- Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Project Leaders: Chanique Vassel and Farrah Simpson

There is Hope Campaign is an initiative by the Caribbean Students’ Association to bring empowering curricula to primary school students and to the Carribbean education systems. 

More about There is Hope Campaign...

CSA began their work with communities in the Caribbean in 2010. CSA collaborated with Dominican educators and specialists to develop a curriculum that was implemented in primary schools throughout the island. Teams developed a larger consciousness and discussion about education in the region, and improved actual educational models. Since then, CSA has taught workshops at a primary school about identity, sustainability, skills for future success, and readiness for college. This campaign also raised public awareness about mental health disorders in school-age children.

The Caribbean Students’ Association will promote the mission of the There is Hope Campaign, which consists in advocating for curricula within the Caribbean education systems that promote a positive self-image for primary school students. This year, CSA hopes to also foster long-lasting mentorship relations between the 6th graders and the Columbia students in order to maintain an impact after the trip has ended.



Amazonia Sostenible – Beni, Bolivia

Project Leaders: Emily Miller and Priya Barchi

The team will help raise awareness of the environmental challenges and potentials of a tropical department of Bolivia populated by the indigenous Mojos people.  The project will consist in developing a short film as well as in creating web and Facebook pages so that the community of the region may share their work with local and international audiences more efficiently.

More about Amazonia Sostenible...

Amazonia Sostenible is a non-governmental organization in the tropical department of Beni, Bolivia, that has spent the last few decades researching ancient agricultural techniques of the indigenous Mojos people and re-adapting the technology to help modern Bolivian farmers cope with the devastating floods and droughts that alternate throughout the year, made worse by climate change. Although this organization certainly has the necessary expertise to transform Bolivian farming practices to be much more sustainable, they have had trouble communicating their work and mission to the rural populations of Beni, and to other regional and international organizations that could provide much needed funding and equipment. Our team will spend the first two weeks of summer 2017 working with the leaders of Amazonia Sostenible to develop a communications platform that will greatly expand their audience. We will develop a short film in Spanish to educate local communities on the environmental problems that exist and how these ancient agricultural technologies can effectively mitigate them; and we will adapt that film into a shorter promotional video in English to reach international organizations and enable partnerships. We will also work with them to create web and Facebook pages to share their work with local and international audiences more efficiently, and we will teach them how to maintain these pages. Our work will serve as the foundation from which Amazonia Sostenible can educate communities across Beni about climate change, sustainable agricultural techniques, and the relevance of ancient indigenous practices today. It will also enable them to connect and partner with organizations across Bolivia and around the world to further develop these innovative farming strategies and implement them on a larger scale. 

CodePhil– Lavezares and Allen, Philippines

Project Leader: Sang Jun Park

Founded in 2016, CodePhil’s mission is to teach and empower high school student on remote islands of the Philippines through computer science and technology.  We aim to do these in 4 ways: (T) Teach computer programming, entrepreneurship, and typing skills to rural high school students living in poverty; (E) Empower students to leverage computer programming to solve the challenges of their respective communities, pursue careers in the IT sector, and break the cycle of poverty; (C) Connect Filipino high school students to mentors in the IT industry; (H) Hack IT solutions to community problems at an annual Innovation Summit in collaboration with high school students, college students, and IT companies.

More about CodePhil...

The 2017 project comes as a successor to our pilot program in the summer of 2016 and will help set a precedent for computer science education in the region of Northern Samar and allow for future development and opportunities for communities to build upon. This year, we are planning to expand to two high school in the towns of Lavezares and Allen, reach over 150 students, and introduce a new programming curriculum that revolves around web-development and the Internet.

This summer, we are also holding CodePhil’s first ever Innovation Summit. This 2-day Innovation Summit will be designed to bring the technology-related career interests of young students in the rural Philippines to the forefront. We aim to host over 200 participants, ranging from tech recruiters and professionals, government representatives, local business owners, and college and high school students, and offer a combination of career sessions, college-research poster sessions, workshops, and presentations that emphasize the importance of a college education and the future of technology in the Philippines. We will also use this opportunity to showcase the achievements and projects of students in the CodePhil program.

Strategic partners of CodePhil are Bagong Kulturang Pinoy (BKP), a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote literacy among children in poverty-stricken areas of the Philippines, the Mayor’s Office of Lavezares, the Department of Information and Communications Technology of the Philippines, and the Department of Education of the Philippines.

CTP– Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Project Leaders:  Rekik Tibebu Demeke, Mahlet Lulseged Yifru, and Veronica Tassew Woldehanna

CTP is a student-for-student educational program in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that provides process-oriented guidance to inspire Ethiopian students’ post-secondary aspirations. 

The goal of CTP is to provide a comprehensive, developmental counseling program based upon the identified needs of Ethiopian high school students in order to inspire students to work towards their goals of getting acceptance to top university programs in the United States.

More about CTP...

The program was founded by Columbia University students in 2014 and thus far has worked with hundreds of high school students from a variety of high schools. The CTP team traveling to Addis Ababa during academic breaks has expanded this program by increasing library resources, organizing comprehensive SAT preparation and college counseling sessions, and creating partnerships with more ever more highschools in Addis Ababa and organizations such as the Columbia Alumni Association of Ethiopia.

ELiTE – Accra, Ghana

Project Leader: Rahi Punjabi

Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering utilizes STEM education as a vehicle to empower low-opportunity students to realize their aca-demic and career potential. This project seeks to train the Ghanaian instructors who will run the summer camps and complete a curriculum redevelopment.

More about ELiTE ...

Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering (ELiTE) is a 501(c)3 organization that utilizes STEM education as a vehicle to empower low-opportunity students to realize their academic and career potential. For the past seven years, EliTE has run summer STEM programs for promising high school students in Ghana. This project seeks to train the Ghanaian instructors who will run the summer camps and complete a curriculum redevelopment through stakeholder engagement and field research. The location of the trip is Accra, Ghana and the tentative dates are from July 27, 2017 to August 21, 2017.

Engineers Without Borders – Amanfrom, Ghana 

Project Leaders: Heather Morriss and Juliet Kirk

This project seeks to construct a gravity-fed water distribution system based off of Engineers Without Borders' (EWB) work in 2016, to decrease the burden of fetching water as well as increase the per capita consumption of water to World Health Organization Standards.

More about EWB...

The Ghana Program of Engineers Without Borders has worked in the Eastern Region of Ghana since 2005 to create sustainable solutions to water and sanitation problems affecting the development of local communities. In the summer of 2017, we seek to construct a gravity-fed water distribution system for the community of 2000 in Amanfrom. Prior to our work in the community, the main source of water was heavily contaminated surface springs that would dry up for long periods during the year. In August 2016 we constructed two new boreholes to provide the community with clean and reliable water. Using this water, we hope to design a system that will bring water to several locations throughout the community that will serve to decrease the burden of fetching water for women and children in the community and also increase the per capita consumption of water to World Health Organization Standards. 

Integrated Gender Curriculum – San Martín, Peru

Project Leaders: Dafne Murillo and David Oliveros

This project will develop and implement an integrated gender curriculum in an “alternating rural school” (which functions as an all-girls boarding high school), to foster a learning of the girls’ empowerment. The team will also be focusing on the infrastructural implementation of a bio-garden, with the hope that the students generate revenue from its sales, creating a positive feedback loop.

More about the Integrated Gender Curriculum ...

The majority of the team’s work will involve contributing to the work of Tarpuy Warmi, a ngo located in Lima, Peru. Our team will work with Tarpuy Warmi to develop the IGC for La Orquidea, the all-girls alternating rural school, located in Soritor, province of Moyobamba, department of San Martin, Peru. The mission of Tarpuy Warmi and the goal of this social education project is to support young women in rural areas, helping them to grow, motivating them as human beings and citizens, and giving them the tools that foster the opportunity to improve their quality of life through empowerment and gender equality education.  

SMS Clinic - The Gambia

Project Leaders: Abhinaba Chatterjee and Ian Covert

SMS Clinic will be continuing their work from last year, as they will be partnering with The Jammeh Foundation for Peace Hospital with the objective of using mobile health technology to improve attendance of their maternal care programs.

More about SMS Clinic...

SMS Clinic will be partnering with The Jammeh Foundation for Peace Hospital in The Gambia, with the objective of using mobile health technology to improve attendance of their maternal care programs. Together, they're developing software for an SMS-based appointment reminder system, which will help The JFP Hospital establish reliable communication with their patients. Prenatal and postnatal programs are critical for new families, as they offer services such as monitoring of infections, hygiene, and nutrition. We hope that by implementing our system we can increase attendance of such programs, and achieve a reduction in health complications experienced by new mothers and their infants. 



Alternative Break Program


515 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: 212-854-1371

9:00 a.m.–5:00p.m.