Execution

On the day that I conducted my research I experienced several challenges. Overall, though, I believe that the study was successful and allowed me to expand vastly my knowledge of research and development in developing countries. To prepare for the evaluation day, my partners and I trained 18 Research Assistants (RAs) on how we wanted them to administer each section of the surveys and exams. Many students as well as RAs showed up late to the site of the research, causing confusion and an inability to keep track of who still needed to take which assessment. However, we ended the day with an almost-complete set of both surveys and exams. In addition, it rained extremely heavily on the evaluation day. This impeded me in multiple ways. Most significantly, we planned on allowing students to play football while waiting to take different assessments or if they had finished. I also planned to play several games with the students to make the day more enjoyable and to create a more comfortable, laid-back environment. Both of these plans were hampered by the rain, although many students did end up playing football in the rain. In addition, I believe that the heavy rain might have contributed to some students not attending. Other than these setbacks, the evaluation day went well. I collected valuable data in a way that was appropriate for both the age and culture of the participants, which was ultimately the goal of this day.

Planning

 

I arrived in Liberia on June 14th excited to get started with my research but not exactly knowing what to expect. Beyond knowing what I wanted to research and which students I would studying, I did not have a solid action plan, partly because I was not sure what the environment in which I was working would allow. I decided that my first step of action needed to be to acclimate to Monrovian life and become familiar with the culture before I could determine how to execute my research. I spent the first few days in Monrovia exploring the city and getting to know the students, faculty, and structure of MFA. Spending time with MFA’s teachers and founders allowed me to grasp the expectations of students in Monrovia as well as the barriers they face. With this knowledge, I was able to create a plan of action. First, I had to get IRB approval from the University of Liberia, which entailed writing up in detail my plans. This allowed me to receive Liberian input on my research as well as to really flesh out my plan.

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Conclusion Blog Entry

So that wraps up my summer in Israel. I’m glad to be back in Williamsburg where it is less hot than Jerusalem, even though it is more humid. I learned about front-end design along with getting data from and API and refreshing it on a page, and data upkeep. Also I learned about Jewish thought and Israeli culture. I wish I had known more Hebrew before going, and that is the advice I will give in the future to people who go on my program. I’m confident the skills I learned at my internship will prove useful to my future career development as well.

Living in Israel

My third post will be about the other part of my time in Israel; daily life in Jerusalem. This was the immersive experience quite similar to study abroad, except for a few caveats. I’m going to go into those, and then I will discuss what I enjoyed and learned about Israel.

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Working at GreenQ

In my last post I was about to start working at my internship. For the majority of my summer I worked at a software startup called GreenQ, which makes hardware to put on garbage trucks to make them smarter. Then the hardware would collect data about the city’s garbage collection process, and over the course of months and eventually years they would get enough data to give the city advice for how to minimize costs with garbage collection. For instance with their first truck, within 3 months they told the city they could collect only 2 days a week if they collected along a modified route. There were a lot of other ways the business could grow, and it was for the most part a fascinating look at how a business works. One thing that happened was that they installed cameras on one truck, and it opened a world of AI and natural language processing possibilities. This taught me about how a startup pivots as the needs of the market and their product change.

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