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John Henderson, President of Engineers Without Borders

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Drexel chapter.

John Henderson, a pre-junior from Lexington, VA, studying environmental engineering and serves as the president of Engineers Without Borders (EWB). EWB is a national organization for engineering students to use their expertise to help communities around the world meet their basic needs by finding solutions to problems like access to clean water and energy. The Drexel chapter of EWB is partnered with Miramar, a village in El Salvador, where they’ve made a goal to provide the residents with 35 functioning water filters. In the past three years, they’ve built more than 20 filters with the help of their engineering backgrounds.

John had already heard of EWB from friends who were members at other schools when he transferred to Drexel in the fall of 2016. He went to the first general body meeting and immediately became a member of the design team. Now, as the current president, John organizes and oversees meetings with general body members and the executive board, coordinates with officers and department heads to keep projects on track, and makes sure everyone has the resources they need. It’s a job that requires a lot of communication and planning, but the outcomes of his hard work make it worth it. “I love seeing people come together to solve problems that’s a big part of the reason why I’m studying engineering…it’s even more rewarding to see other students taking initiative to lead different aspects of what is a fairly complex project and work together to make a difference,” John said.

Currently, EWB is assessing and launching several new projects in El Salvador and in Philadelphia. With so much to do, one of the John’s biggest challenges of being president is not having enough time to dedicate to the club. According to John, however, this means that he and his fellow members learn better time management skills and develop a desire to serve others, which will benefit them in their engineering careers.

Being a part of EWB also gave John the drive he needed to stick with engineering despite how stressed out he felt juggling his sophomore year workload. “[The] work you do in EWB matters right away – it affects people’s lives in a tangible way – and that’s not something you get in the classroom,” he said. Being a part of this organization gave him the focus and motivation he needed to continue striving for his long-term goals.

In terms of his career, John was already interested in sustainability, natural resources and international development when he came to Drexel as a chemical engineering major, but his involvement in EWB was one of the things that gave him the push he needed to change his major to environmental engineering last summer. After graduating, he hopes to work on water resource planning with an emphasis on environmental monitoring and hydrologic modeling. His next co-op at the Philadelphia Water Department will allow him to explore his interests. “[In] the long run I would love to take those skills overseas to serve communities like Miramar where access to clean water is a question of survival,” he said.


Follow EWB on Facebook and Dragon Link to see how you can get involved!

Sarah is a Marketing and Technology & Innovation Management major from Brooklyn, NY. In her free time she enjoys reading lifestyle/fashion/beauty blogs and literature, trying to get her life together, watching Netflix, and spending an unhealthy amount of time on social media. 
Her Campus Drexel contributor.