Blog

Visit to Machu Picchu inspires Maya Goldman to walk in the footsteps of Incan engineers

}

Nov 10, 2016

Civil engineering senior Maya Goldman stands in front of a hydroelectric dam and accompanying facility in Peru. Goldman traveled to Cuzco, Peru, and the surrounding areas in summer 2016 with The GREEN Program to learn how Peru blends ancient and modern techniques to provide clean water in a sustainable way. Goldman’s summer travel was supported by the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Joe S. Mundy Global Learning Endowment. (Photo Courtesy: Maya Goldman)

civtws0w70vz9mui519dckskt mundy goldman hydroelectric dam maya goldman h

Senior Maya Goldman spent 10 days in Peru last summer studying water resources and sustainability through The GREEN Program. Working with Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola in Cuzco, local community organizers, and owners of power plant and water treatment facilities, Goldman learned how Peru uses ancient methods and modern technologies to ensure access to clean water for future generations.

“It incorporated not just the topic of water resources management, which I plan to purse as a career, but also history and culture,” Goldman said. “There was an environment of constant learning that challenged me physically and mentally.”

civtx67rz0vztmui5cbu3imvh mundy goldman incan canal maya goldman v

A group of students surveys a dry Incan canal at the religious and agricultural site Tipon in Peru. The group, including Georgia Tech senior Maya Goldman, used a well-known hydraulic modeling software to compare the trial-and-error method of Incan engineers to modern empirical equations. (Photo: Maya Goldman)

Goldman’s trip was supported by the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Joe S. Mundy Global Learning Endowment. Here, she shares more about her experience: 

After morning classes in Cuzco, students went on field trips so we could experience and practice what we had been taught. For example, after learning about the different geographical regions of Peru, the seasons, and the importance of agriculture in ancient and modern days, we visited Tipón.

Tipón is an outdoor agricultural laboratory and religious retreat built by the Incans to help acclimate seeds from different kingdoms to various altitudes and then to share these crops throughout the empire.

There is an extensive network of small canals that transport water from the lakes on the mountaintop to the laboratory below. We surveyed one of the canals, measured the cross-sections, and modeled the canal in a 3-D program at our host school to see how our modern day empirical equations correlate with the trial-and-error methods of the Incans.

On another one of our field trips, we hiked part of the Incan trail to get to a hydroelectric dam and power generation facility. We went deep underground where the new Francis turbine cranked out power for people on the other side of the valley, and I got to see up close the processes I learned about in my hydraulic engineering and environmental engineering classes at Tech.

civtxb4q00vrtnji5w4fc0oih mundy goldman bottle gutter maya goldman h

A rainwater cistern with a gutter made of recycled Inca Kola bottles, a popular soda in Peru. Undergraduate Maya Goldman fixed this gutter system as part of a day volunteering at an elementary school outside of Cuzco, Peru, during her summer 2016 study abroad trip to the South American country. “The main idea of this project was to show the kids a creative way of recycling plastic bottles while collecting precious water resources,” Goldman said. (Photo: Maya Goldman)

We visited an elementary school where a community group was discussing the water scarcity and quality issues they will be facing in the upcoming season, and saw the greenhouse, water collection systems, and educational murals implemented at the school.

We visited one of the most polluted rivers in the country, which has such low oxygen levels that no living things survive in the sewage, garbage, and industrial waste infested water. Then we took a tour of the wastewater treatment plant further downstream.

Finally, I entered a wonderland for someone like me with a love of both history and civil engineering: Machu Picchu.

Educated Incans studied weather patterns, astronomy, agricultural sciences, and religion in a city that has stood the test of time thanks to the genius of engineers who came before me.

I walked on retaining walls that have protected great stone structures from mudslides.

I touched the walls of homes built from pieces brought from a quarry over rough terrain and cut precisely to fit together like Legos using no mortar or cement.

I peered through clear glass at an archeological excavation to view the amazing seismic damping foundations that allowed the city to survive earthquakes.

I followed the flow of water through complex drainage systems built to move massive amounts of water through the city to mitigate flood risks during the rainy season.

civtxjhmw0vs9nji592g9p7p3 mundy goldman machu picchu maya goldman h

Georgia Tech senior Maya Goldman at Machu Picchu in Peru. The structure behind her shows how Incan engineers used terraces as retaining walls. “Being in Machu Picchu inspired me like no other place on Earth to continue my study of civil engineering,” Goldman said, “to follow in the footsteps of those before me, and to build a future based on sharing knowledge and closely observing environmental processes, just like Incan engineers.” Goldman traveled to Peru with the support of the Joe S. Mundy Global Learning Endowment, a study-abroad fund the helps School of Civil and Environmental Engineering students pay for learning and cultural experiences in other countries. (Photo Courtesy: Maya Goldman)

Being in Machu Picchu inspired me like no other place on Earth to continue my study of civil engineering, to follow in the footsteps of those before me, and to build a future based on sharing knowledge and closely observing environmental processes, just like Incan engineers.

I did many other things during my adventure in Peru: white-water rafting, zip-lining, meeting llamas and alpacas, swimming in a hot spring, dancing with my friends at a local club, visiting a salt mine, watching pottery being made, hiking in a cloud forest.

But what I gained most was a clearer sense of purpose and pride for my future working as a civil engineer on important projects to improve my local and global community.

I cannot wait to take what I learned in The GREEN Program and continue to fight for a cleaner, happier, and more sustainable world.

See the original article here.

Read Another Article

How an Online Sustainability Program Helped Jaedyn Medrano Become an Intersectional Sustainability Advocate

This blog features the virtual Nepal Ethics of Sustainable Development Alum, Jaedyn Medrano who says, “this program taught me how to think about a project holistically, and it has guided me along the path to being a better cultured and inclusive young professional.” She is set to graduate with a double major in Renewable Natural Resources & Ecological Restorations in December of 2022.

read more

Defending Reproductive Rights in the Battle for Climate Justice

Reproductive Justice is Climate Justice. The GREEN Program stands to defend the reproductive rights of all women and people who give birth to access safe reproductive health care. We must do more to educate others and understand the interconnection between Reproductive Justice and the Climate Crisis. It’s important to draw the connections between climate change, pollution, and reproductive rights.

read more

An International Graduate Student Embraces Nepali Culture by Studying Abroad through Shine On Scholarship

On one hand, I believe that every student should be given a chance to study abroad at least once in their life, because it teaches us things that textbooks cannot: adaptability, resilience, curiosity, empathy, just to name a few. Whether good or bad, bursting our bubble and learning about our world will inspire us and open our minds. On the other hand, the people we interact with benefit from the diversity, because all of us bring unique perspectives to the table. Perhaps we share an idea that no one has thought of but could be key to solving a problem; we fuel the aspirations of someone who is facing similar difficulties; or help take down stereotypes.  

read more

Remembering Juneteenth and the Fight for Environmental Justice

n June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery. It is on this day every year since that we celebrate “Juneteenth” as the end of slavery in the United States. It is a day that we celebrate ancestors and leaders who fought to be liberated. We celebrate their power, resiliency, and tenacity. 

read more

LGBTQ+ Leaders and Organizations in Sustainability to Know About this Pride Month

The GREEN Program loves to celebrate love, and there is no better way to do that this month than by recognizing a few LGBTQ+ leaders and organizations that are making a difference not just in their own communities but for our planet altogether. Read below to learn more about some people and spaces that are working together to promote a better world that focuses on inclusion and equality.

read more

Meet 8 AAPI Leaders in Sustainability: Across the Globe and At Home

The month of May is known to many as the end of classes and the start of Summer, but May is also known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Our team at TGP wanted to take a moment to recognize the contributions and influence of AAPI Americans throughout history, culture, and achievements both on a global scale, and from those who are a bit close to home. We also encourage you to learn more about AAPI Heritage Month and get involved through additional resources.

read more

From a Start Up to a Sustainability Study Abroad Program: How Patrick Applied his Passion for Renewable Energy in Iceland

When Fall 2021 rolled around and I saw the TGP scholarship opportunity, I thought I’d apply not expecting much. When I found out that I actually got it, I was like “I guess I’m actually doing this!”. I was a little nervous and anxious but also so excited for the opportunity! I was also grateful that the enrollment process was very smooth for me with no significant challenges along the way.

read more

Boston University Student Gains a Unique Perspective for Renewable Energy & Sustainability by Studying Abroad in Iceland

Global experiences have definitely shaped me into the person I am today through increased cultural awareness and sensitivity. Getting to really know a great group of diverse individuals from all over the world has not only shaped my perspective on current world issues, but has also allowed me to take a glance at certain topics from another angle and point of view.

read more

A Construction Science Major Turns Lessons into Opportunity after a Sustainability Study Abroad Program 

AJ Ewing spent his past Winter Break a little bit differently than most students, by studying abroad on our GREEN Nepal program. As a Construction Science major, AJ notes that he was nervous coming into the study abroad program having no prior experience in sustainability or electrical/solar grids, but he was excited and eager to learn. As soon as he arrived, all his nerves were gone as he was welcomed by our team and ready to dive in. Now, he can honestly say that when he thinks of The GREEN Program, he thinks of “family away from home.”

read more

How a Geologist Made His Sustainability Dream in Iceland a Reality through a Study Abroad Scholarship

As someone who is in a field with a limited representation of ethnic minorities, TGP created a neutral ground where there was a range of diversity on different levels. My GREEN Program experience in Iceland wasn’t just about the adventures and cultural immersion, but about the education too. I thoroughly enjoyed the lectures because I saw how passionate the different lecturers were about their work and research which is truly inspiring. As a geologist, learning more about the wonder that is Iceland in Iceland was definitely a dream come true.

read more

Get to Know GREENie: Maryam Aida Tidjani

Maryam Aida Tidjani got to experience a brand new kind of GREEN Program during the hard times the world was facing, a 100% Virtual and Online experience. Initially planning on traveling to Peru in 2021, the global pandemic continued to shift things around and we had to pivot all travel programs to Online experiences.

read more

Subscribe to The GREEN Program newsletter & updates

Loading...
Skip to content