Evaluation comments by student participants are an essential component for project assessment. Any doubts concerning the value of this experience for aspiring, young professionals must consider the following:
"This is a rare experience for an undergraduate student especially at a school with a small science division such as Wheaton College. Students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty and each other to do original research and get paid for it. This project will ultimately help improve the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands of people, by bringing a solution to the lack of sanitation and scarcity of water in poor areas of the globe.
I became interested in WASTE because of the potential to impact people worldwide by responding to the dire need for improved sanitation in the Global South. I have also come to see the project as an amazing opportunity for undergraduate students to work closely with professors and peers on an interdisciplinary team."
– Kaitlyn Wallett
"In having been given such responsibility, I feel that I have been given opportunity to learn and grow. The level of student responsibility has given us an incredible educational opportunity. The word “interdisciplinary” applies in every way to WASTE, with students and professors in departments such as Geology, Biology, Business/Economics, International Relations, and even the Engineering program. It demonstrates the synergy that comes with building bridges between different academic silos and I sincerely hope this continues in the future. I gather that this project is unlike any other due to its longevity, vision, student leadership, and interdisciplinary nature. As a result, I have found my involvement with WASTE to be one of my top highlights at Wheaton. Through scholarly research, I have developed a vision for a career in community development, delving into the financial aspects such as sustainability and stakeholdership."
– Bayard Pickens
"Academically it has taught me more about real-life engineering and the workplace than most of my classes in college combined. Socially it has taught me a lot about myself and pointed out some important strengths and weaknesses for me."
– David Edgren
"WASTE has allowed me to practically apply my major. While WASTE has been fairly interdisciplinary so far, I believe it has the potential to be even more interdisciplinary. We have looked at the system setup from the sciences, but we are just starting to get into the need to create a business model, look at implementation cross culturally, and understand methods for transformational development. It would be great to get more students and professors involved from other disciplines such as business/economics, anthropology, political science, etc. My involvement with WASTE has been an incredible experience. It is hard to put into words how much I have learned. Going into this I had very little lab experience, but now I have spent countless hours in lab setting, and have learned how to perform tests that I have never used before, and learned how to collect and analyze data. Since I was involved with managing the lab, I had to deal with problems as they came up, evaluate the cause of the problem, and determine the best solution. I also learned so much about leadership and group dynamics. I hope to ultimately do some type of work with international sustainable development in developing countries, specifically with water resources and agriculture, so WASTE directly relates to that."
– Christine Gamble
"The entire process of WASTE, from designing and running the experiments to seeking funds and making plans to move the project forward, has been the most valuable academic experience I’ve had during my time here at Wheaton. The need for sustainable wastewater treatment in the developing world is much higher than it needs to be, and I’m confident that our endeavor can improve the lives of many individuals."
– Jacob Kvasnicka
"I wanted to be on board with this project because I want to be a part of a solution to a major world problem. I feel that what we are doing here at Wheaton is extremely practical and can touch lives by promoting health and well-being."
– Levi Soodsma