Villanova Engineering Service Learning group leader and Chemical Engineering major Samantha Schafer ’17 COE and fellow students had devised a way to repair the exterior of a 120,000-gallon water storage tank in a town in Panama that they would visit over the ’16-’17 academic winter break.
But when the students arrived, they found extensive damage to the tank’s interior. For 12 days, they excavated problem areas, patched cracks, and relined the walls and floor with an advanced sealant. Their watertight solution restored the tank to operation and improved the quality of life for the local people.
Robert Pizzano ’70 COE, P ’19 knows firsthand how powerful the experience of applying technical knowledge in a developing country is. After accompanying a different group of students to Panama, he was inspired to make an estate gift to the University to offset the cost of future trips.
His gift ensures that more Villanovans will be transformed as Samantha was.
“My time in Panama has yielded some of my favorite memories,” she recently reflected. “My service there has made me a better student not only of engineering, but of life.”
This story originally appeared in the Spring 2017 edition of Villanova Magazine.