Engineering Alumna Seeks Sustainable Energy for Developing Countries

World Bank Internship Solidifies Passion

By Zeke Willcox ’18
Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ethiopia HaileyesusIt was the first time Ethiopia Haileyesus visited the country of her namesake: Ethiopia. On the outskirts of the capital city of Addis Ababa, a 12-year-old Haileyesus trotted beside her parents in a crowded street. The setting sun darkened the street as the family made their way to a café when suddenly Haileyesus caught the eye of a small girl across the road. The girl, about four or five years old, raced to Haileyesus, raised up her little hands and pleaded for money, to which an overwhelmed Haileyesus offered a bit. Eagerly, the girl accepted the gift and darted through the masses to her waiting mother holding a baby on the other side of the street.

The image of the girl and her family glued itself to Haileyesus ever since her African visit, giving her passion and drive to fight to end poverty in Ethiopia and around the world.

“I always say, I feel like that child is the one making me come back,” Haileyesus said keenly. “She’s the [reason] why I want to go back to Ethiopia and help kids like that.”

Haileyesus grew up with engineers for parents and always knew she would pursue engineering as a career. Haileyesus’ mother encouraged her to research renewable engineering and for her, it seemed perfect.

“I could not get my mind off of renewable energy,” Haileyesus said.

With more research and time, Haileyesus knew it was the life God called for her.

“That’s where my passion lies,” she said. “That’s where I felt satisfied. I felt future with that. This is what Ethiopia needs. This is what Africa needs. This is what all developing countries need.”

During here senior year at JBU, Haileyesus worked on two important projects. For her senior engineering project, Ethiopia and her teammates developed an affordable solar thermal pasteurizer to create fresh water in Guatemala.

Ethiopia implements here energy conversion systemAs part of a JBU Enactus team Haileyesus worked on an energy conversion system that converts organic waste into methane gas for practical usage. That summer she was able to implement the system at a children’s home in Ethiopia.

In 2015, Haileyesus graduated from JBU, earning a degree in mechanical and renewable energy engineering, and is now pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland.

This past summer, the determined Haileyesus utilized her passion, drive and transferable engineering skills as an intern at the World Bank.

“This is an organization I’ve always wanted to work at because of its mission, which is to end poverty and that’s the same mission I have,” Haileyesus said.

During her internship, Haileyesus worked closely with Laura Tuck, the vice president of sustainable development.

The sustainable development department utilizes natural resources such as water, wind, sun and agriculture to economically enhance the well being of struggling people around the world.

One of Haileyesus’ duties was to analyze Inspection Panel cases.

“The Inspection Panel is a system for people and communities who believe they have been, or are likely to be, adversely affected by a World Bank-funded project to get the specific project reviewed,” Haileyesus said.

Haileyesus was assigned to highlight recommendations and precautions the World Bank should make to circumvent potential threats to clients.

After presenting her research to Tuck, Tuck and Haileyesus examined the projects together to determine if the project would harm the local people?

“Is this project benefitting them? Is it harming them in any way?” said Haileyesus.

Haileyesus also researched and collected facts and statistics on water, energy, agriculture, ocean energy and other sustainable development areas. Dubbed "Killer Facts," the information is often read by Tuck at speaking engagements on the respective topics.

Haileyesus says her involvement with JBU Enactus crafted her ideals for the future.

“I thought I always wanted to work in an engineering firm, but that’s not actually true,” Haileyesus said. “I actually found my passion leading and working aside other people.”

Five years from now she hopes she is leading in sustainable energy projects with a diverse team of individuals from business, education, engineering, accounting and science backgrounds.

“My main goal in life is to really serve people and help them live better lives,” Haileyesus said. “That’s one big thing —for me to not only serve them, but I want to do it with an open heart.”

 

 

 

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