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Meron Tadesse collaborates with high school students in Ghana

One Student’s Story: A Vision to Work for Global Change at Home

March 9, 2021

Meron Tadesse '20, who came to WPI from Ethiopia to study chemical engineering, is a research assistant and enrolled in the newly launched graduate program in Science & Technology for Innovation in Global Development. She is a candidate to finish her master’s degree in 2022 and plans to remain at WPI to earn a PhD. She says her time as an undergraduate at WPI’s Ghana Project Center for her Major Qualifying Project (MQP), a disciplinary project all undergraduates must complete, helped shape her decision to enroll in the new master’s program.

While in Ghana, Tadesse worked with other students and local community members to develop a triple-layer activated carbon and clay-sawdust water filter for a village of 15,000 people whose water supply was poisoned with mercury from unsustainable small-scale gold mining practices in the region. Tadesse is quick to note the importance of working with the villagers to co-design the filters using locally sourced material that ensured the longevity and success of the project.

“Seeing the impact I was having on people’s lives (in Ghana) solidified my decision to move forward with this major. My dreams were brought to life. The reason I came to WPI was because WPI works on real-world problems, and we co-design solutions,” she says.

Tadesse plans to use her education to work with others to implement change in places such as her homeland.

Hear more from Meron Tadesse about her work: Play Video

Learn more about the Science & Technology for Innovation in Global Development MS Program here.