On the Island of San Cristobal in the Galapagos, where limited internet service is available, a team of four Villanova Computer Engineering seniors— Lauren Henderson, Gibel Sowe, Karol Pierre and Sarah Chen—developed a community intranet to connect five of the island’s schools. Through their senior design project, the women set up servers to store information that could be updated or changed and shared. As a private company, iPhotonCorp, working in collaboration with Elec Galapagos (the local utility) installed an optical fiber network, the students presented three afternoons of workshops to about 20 teachers and students, providing a basic introduction to the intranet and its functionality, as well as other digital resources. The student team also refurbished 10 computers at one of the schools, and donated five more to another school, which Villanova University provided.
“The students did such a good job on both projects and really represented Villanova very well,” says Dr. Singh. “They were very motivated, very enthusiastic. I just can’t say enough good things about them. It was a very successful trip.” Dr. Singh also applauded the efforts of Urquizo, who came to Villanova from ESPOL, and served as Dr. Singh’s right hand man throughout both parts of the trip.
Dr. Singh and a new team of students will return to Ecuador in June 2019. In San Cristobal they will install additional computers and solar panels to power a lab in one of the schools, and in Cerritos they will add approximately 35 additional solar systems in the community and conduct additional workshops to community members in both locations.