International Service Project - Panama

International Service Project - Water for Waslala

In Panama, Villanova Engineering has a relationship with Capuchin missionary priest Father Wally "Padre Pablo" Kasuboski and his Cheypo Bayano Mission. Much of our work there involves the development of a water resources master plan to serve more than 10,000 people, a project which began in 2010 with Dr. Jerry Jones, Associate Professor Frank Falcone '70 CE, ’73 MSCE, PE, and alumnus Daniel Lutz ’71 CE. Team members are investigating the long-term sustainability of water availability in the area, as well as the engineering services that will be required to implement it.

Additional projects in Panama include the research of a Vado culvert bridge design and the design and installation of a solar array to provide for the energy needs of an isolated village of the Embera-Puru ethnic minority group. To provide additional support for the needs of these communities, Villanova engineering teams have established relationships with a number of organizations in Panama, including two engineering schools, one architectural school and the City of Knowledge non-profit organization.

Ian Dardani ’13 ME, Panama Project Manager

The Experience

William Angiolillo ’12 CE took three service trips to Panama in his time at Villanova. His final project for the region, which he worked on on campus, called for the redesign of local “vados,” or culvert bridges. These vados are intended to mitigate the overflow of water from rivers onto streets and stream-crossings. Working with fellow Villanova engineer Ian Dardani ’13 ME, who was on-site in Panama, Angiolillo received pictures of the culvert and began to re-design the structure to prevent failure. “It was often challenging in the sense that I could not visit the site and examine the structure; I had to visualize,” he says. In the end, it all came together and Angiolillo provided a detailed report outlining his recommendations and suggestions on the optimal hydraulic design to benefit the community. “Humanitarian engineering is the career path for me. I believe everyone is called to do good work, and I feel that my work had purpose,” he says.

To Apply

Deadlines and an application form for fall and spring break trips can be found here. At the current time, summer and winter service trips to Panama are being conducted on an invitation-only basis and are reserved students who need to travel for project specific purposes.

Learn More

For more information or to help support international service projects, contact Director Jordan Ermilio at or 610-519-6859. You can also make a donation through the University website, designating your gift to “Engineering Service Learning.”