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making a

difference STORIES AND HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE UW FOUNDATION

From Rockets to Roads Dean Chahim always dreamed of building rockets. And when he was accepted into the UW College of Engineering, he felt he’d taken one giant leap toward making that dream a reality. But at an Engineers Without Borders conference

Dean is double-majoring in development studies and civil

sponsored by the UW, Dean learned of an opportunity to

engineering with a focus on the link between water resources

travel to Bolivia to help repair rural roads. “We worked on

and equity. He is now volunteering with the Northwest

the only road to markets, clinics and schools,” says the UW

Justice Project. “There’s a lot of bacteria and nitrates in wells

junior. “We were helping, but I realized our repairs would

near Yakima, and this creates serious health hazards, so

only last so long. And I thought, I could design rockets — but

we’ll be going door to door to get the word out,” Dean says.

why, when we can’t even apply simple technologies to make

“These wells primarily affect low-income Latinos — and they

life better for people?”

are not always aware of the problems or remedies.”

Dean changed his focus from rockets to international

The opportunity to directly help people, whether in South

development and managed the Bolivia roads project’s second

America or Eastern Washington, is one of the things Dean

phase. A Mary Gates Leadership Scholarship allowed him to

loves about the UW. “No amount of study can prepare you

research development organizations in Nicaragua. There his

for actually working with people — it’s amazingly powerful,

perspective shifted again. “I didn’t want to restrict myself to

and it has changed me tremendously.” 

going abroad. Change also needs to happen here at home.”

 MAKE a DIFFERENCE TODAY Do your part to help students like Dean reach their dreams. Learn how at uwfoundation.org.

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COLUMNS

ABOVE: Junior Dean Chahim, far left, working with community members in Bolivia to improve a washed-out road. Dean, who's volunteering near Yakima this summer to raise awareness about dirty wells, was working with the UW chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

Columns - September 2010  

New in Columns, the University of Washington Alumni Magazine: Off the gridiron with Jake Locker, one of the country’s highest-rated college...

Columns - September 2010  

New in Columns, the University of Washington Alumni Magazine: Off the gridiron with Jake Locker, one of the country’s highest-rated college...

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