In the western Kenya city of Kisumo last spring, Leah Tai expected to meet with a few teachers from only three schools. The Oregon State graduate student in Water Resources Engineering was serving as a school program coordinator for TAHMO.
In short order, she found herself at a workshop having lunch with 60 teachers. “They were from all around the region, telling me about their science programs,” says Tai. “They were excited to have someone from an international group present.” One school had built ponds so the students could learn how to raise and harvest fish. They literally turned their lessons into lunch.
Schools in Kenya have become crucial partners with TAHMO by installing weather stations and collaborating with sister schools in Europe and the United States. In Corvallis, Adams Elementary School installed a Decagon weather station last September and has just started communicating with the St. Scholastica Primary School north of Nairobi.
In Idaho, Pam Aishlin, a geologist at Boise State University, has linked four local schools with TAHMO partners. “This kind of sharing about climate brings the students an understanding of what daily and seasonal life is like for their peers,” she says. “Teachers and students are looking forward to using data from their joint school weather stations in math, science and computer courses.”
For her work in Africa, Tai received an Evans Family Fellowship, which supports research and travel expenses for graduate students in humanitarian engineering.