Bioreactor Spring 2022 Reflections

Sydney and the Bioreactor R&D Team in spring 2022 preparing for the site visit and build

This was my second semester working with the Bioreactor R&D group as part of Wish4Wash. This semester we started actually creating our prototype and moved out of the planning and budgeting phase. We began by moving all our materials on site and then started building up components one by one. We then began integrating them together, running systems tests along the way. So far, all of our building has been successful, and we are on our way to creating a working bioreactor! We gained a lot of new members, so we were able to split up into teams and delegate tasks between ourselves.

Beginning the building phase presented a great deal of logistical challenges, which helped me grow in my organization and logistical planning skills. I also grew as a team member and learned about what it takes to make a team productive with lots of working parts moving in conjunction. With the new group size, it took us a while to adjust our work style; however, once we got in the hang of things, we were able to accomplish 3–4 tasks in the 3–4 hour period we were on Magnus’s farm each week. It has been incredibly exciting and fun to get to see our prototype actually come together and function. Getting to actually build things with my hands this semester has been a really incredible experience. I have learned how to 3D print, build wood structures, and work with infusion pumps. With our limited tools, we had to learn how to adapt and improvise, which I think is a very important part of being an engineer.

I have continued to love being a part of the start-up culture at W4W and the opportunity to contribute to something novel that is going to help our communities be cleaner and healthier. It has provided a way for me to meet some pretty amazing people, who I continue to learn from and be supported by each week. My team and the new skills and experiences I have gained have helped me gain a more confident mindset where I feel I can achieve significant accomplishments through dedication, time, and teamwork. — Sydney Oliver

Some of the bioreactor team after the installation

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