My name is Janna San Juan. During the Winter Program 2012, I was a 21-year-old student studying environmental engineering at Georgia Tech. Initially, when I applied to the Program, I wanted to be a Saha Global Field Rep because I wanted to experience first-hand the water crisis in Africa. The idea of going to that exotic continent excited me, even though I was almost scared to go; how many people are willing to travel to a place where it’s possible get malaria or be bitten by some strange insect? (In case you are wondering, this was easier to avoid than I thought.) By the end of the program, not only did I gain field experience with water treatment, I came back home with more friends, memories of playing games with the village children, unforgettable stories, and a great increase in confidence in what I wanted to do with my life.
Friends and family members gave many “oohs” and “ahhs” for how I was sacrificing my time, but this trip gave me more than I could have imagined. It gave me the Big Picture. It’s easy to get tied up in studying the calculations and intricacies in water treatment solutions in developed countries. With the simplicity of Saha’s treatment process, it was easy to understand the purpose of each step. Layering what I learned in my studies on top of what I learned about the treatment implemented in the Saha villages helped with understanding my schoolwork. Having this stronger foundation in the basic concepts overflowed into how I now contribute to my professional work. I now work for a drinking water treatment supplier/manufacturer near Atlanta, GA. It was my first choice of employment, and I have trouble imagining obtaining this job without having had such a fantastic learning experience with Saha.
A couple other ways the Program continues to live on in my life: I have stayed involved by participating in a competition hosted by Saha in 2012, and I have also kept in touch with friends who were either on the same Program or on a later one. My time in Ghana was less than a month, but it continues to be a positive influence on me years after my experience with Saha.
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