Engineering students head back to Bolivia

Published: Jul 22, 2013 11:00:00 AM
Media Contact: Morgan Stashick,, 334-844-3591

Photo by Jeff Etheridge

A group of 15 Auburn Engineering students will travel once again to Bolivia on August 2 to further develop the projects they put into place a year ago in the mountainous farming village of Quesimpuco.

“We are continuing to expand on the hydroponics project of experimenting with different ways to grow crops without soil and by recycling water,” says Stephen Smart, a senior in civil engineering who has been involved in the student outreach project. “The system will be used to educate community members on different growing techniques and will be used to grow crops to feed animals.”

Smart says the team will also implement the first phase of the irrigation system they developed, which is composed of a network of pipes that will distribute water from a nearby source across the mountainside.

On this same trip to Quesimpuco last summer, Auburn’s director of photography Jeff Etheridge was on hand to photograph the connection, collaboration and comradeship between the Auburn students and the local residents of the rural Andean community – the Quechua. His photo of a Quechua farmer carrying a bundle of branches on his back received first place in the people and portraits category, as well as first place for best use of artificial light, from the University Photographers of America Association.