This week TCi welcomed two new researchers to the TCi research team with the appointment of a Faculty Fellow and a TCi Scholar. Congratulations to Dr. Monroe Weber-Shirk and Tanvi Rao!
Dr. Monroe Weber-Shirk was awarded a TCi Faculty Fellowship as a result of his current and proposed work to continue devleoping robust, sustainable municiple drinking water treatment technologies. Dr. Weber-Shirk received his PhD in Environmental Engineering from Cornell University in 1992. His experiences working in Salvadoran refugee camps in Honduras helped shape his interest in sustainable technologies for safe drinking water. In 2005 he founded the AguaClara program to address the need for sustainable municipal scale water treatment in resource poor communities. His investigations of the widespread failure of automated and mechanized water treatment plants have provided the impetus to develop a new approach to solve this global infrastructure problem. He has guided the AguaClara team to invent a series of technologies that together make it possible to produce safe drinking water without using any electricity. He organized the AguaClara program to engage students to conduct research and create a free online water treatment plant design tool. He works to empower partner organizations that in turn empower communities to build, operate, and sustain their AguaClara water treatment plants. His research team is investigating methods to improve performance and reduce the cost of drinking water treatment. He guides students using a combination of peer-based, project-based, and lecture formats. We look forward to working with Dr. Weber-Shirk on research and development of scalable safe drinking water facilities in India.
Tanvi Rao is a 3rd year PhD student at Cornell University in the Applied Economics and Management department. Her primary research interests are in the field of development economics and applied econometrics. For her dissertation and as a TCi Scholar, she aims to study the preferences and expectations of Indian rural youth regarding their perceived job opportunities, aquired skills and education, and eventual work choices. Ultimatly, she hopes to understand what these perceptions and eventual job-choices mean for agrarian policy and the overall rural economy. An important component of her field-work in India will include collecting subjective (perception) data from young men and women, between the ages of 15-25, about the returns and costs they believe to be associated with different occupational choices. Moreover Tanvi hopes to find out how Indian youth are understanding their own unique potential and ability. She believes that such data contains important informational content which can be especially crucial in understanding the constrained choices that people make in a developing country context. Prior to coming to Cornell, Tanvi obtained a bachelors degree in economics from Delhi’s Shri Ram College of Commerce; she considers her part-time work experience with different urban and rural NGOs in the country to have been an essential part of her education.