On May 1st, 2017, Dela Hini will be off on her next adventure. The 2nd year School of Engineering student has been chosen 2017’s Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Junior Fellow, and will be spending nearly 4 months in Ghana.
Born in Ghana, this project was Hini’s first choice. She will be working with a company that is developing a technological platform that will reach across distance, language and literacy barriers to deliver information and give underserved communities a voice.
Hini explained “As someone who has lived in Ghana, Saudi Arabia, and Canada, I’ve noticed a disconnect and a knowledge gap that is present in developing nations. Bridging that gap allows for greater self-determination. Here in Canada we might take access to technology for granted – but it’s so valuable in giving power to people.”
Hini has put in a lot of work to get where she is she is today. Growing up in Calgary, Alberta, Hini wasn’t sure what she wanted to do following high school. She was always interested in design, which was inspired by a character in a movie. Then in high school she began to think about an engineering education in preparation for civil design.
It wasn’t until she took a biology course that she discovered a passion for the human body – but how was she to combine the human body and design?
Hini’s brother suggested biomedical engineering, and that’s when everything clicked.
“That’s the one, that’s it,” said Hini. “It gives me everything I want. Physics, biology, engineering, and design. I chose a full IB program with a focus in physics, and I had found my path.”
Hini dreamed of attending UBC, and was accepted to the School of Engineering. Her original plan was to transfer to the Vancouver campus, but when she arrived on the Okanagan campus, she knew she had found her place.
“I got here for Kickstart, and after 3 days I knew I couldn’t leave this place – this School is insanely cool! I made such a strong connection to this campus and these people.”
Wanting to become involved in biomedical research, Hini began contacting professors.
“Dr. Kim got back to me the very next day, and before I knew it I was working in his lab as a research assistant,” shares Hini. “And I’m still working there!”
“Research has given me focus, made me aware of how all learning can be applied in an interdisciplinary way, and shown me the value of different disciplines and how they work together.”
Hini is involved in other areas of campus as well. She has served on the Engineering Society, is currently a Residence Advisor, participates in the Intercultural Development Program, assists in planning Aero Club events, and supports a variety of School of Engineering outreach activities.
Academic life has not always been easy for Hini, but she chooses to find the positive in all situations.
“I had struggled with a few of my high school classes, and a few of my engineering classes as well. But I have learned resilience. Struggles teach a person what their character is made up of. They teach you boundaries – what you can and cannot do. My advice? Know what you want, and keep that in front of you regardless of the challenges you face. Find balance.”
Finding that balance led Hini to Engineers Without Borders.
“I joined the club in first year, but wasn’t able to attend many meetings due to my schedule. In second year, I wanted to be more involved. It looks like a valuable opportunity, and its initiatives seemed to be in line with what is important to me – challenging the stereotypes of what an engineer is and is not.”
As Hini was sitting in her project management class thinking about her next summer, an EWB member shared details about the EWB Fellowship Program with students. Hini picked up an application, and put her heart into the details while filling it out. Then she waited.
After several interviews, Hini learned that she was selected on December 22, 2016.
“I was thrilled!” says Hini. “And I was assigned my first choice in projects!”
Hini has already begun blogging about her experience, and will continue to do so while in Ghana.
Her blog’s title has great significance to Hini.
“Morzorla” is a derivation from the Ewe word for “journey”. Numekak Morzorla refers to a traveler. Actual translation of the phrase would be “someone who travels in search of knowledge and purpose”.”
To follow Dela Hini’s journey, check out http://morzorlablog.wordpress.com.