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The International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation (IWSH) has presented three new IWSH Awards to Milwaukee School of Engineering students Kathryn Ashley and Sarah Ceurvorst and Plumbers Local 68 director of Marketing and Recruitment Jeremy Pavlich.
The awards were presented by IAPMO President David Gans and Vice President Steve Panelli as part of the opening session of IAPMO's 92nd annual Education and Business Conference, hosted online Sept. 27-30.
"It is my distinct privilege to present the IWSH Award to a trio of recipients who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of others through their work on an IWSH project, motivated others to become involved, and exhibited a passion for helping and educating others in the WASH sector," Panelli said.
Individual IWSH Awards were presented to the duo of Ashley and Ceurvorst, students from the Milwaukee School of Engineering. The women led a range of key testing and troubleshooting activities on two unique prototype handwashing units, originally designed by IWSH and DigDeep staff, and built during winter 2020 in collaboration with UA Local 400 in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. Their contributions to the inaugural Wash Station Challenge helped reduce the weight and production cost and improve mobility of the two prototypes before a finalized design went forward to be built at 10 separate UA Locals located across the United States this June and July. As a result, 21 mobile wash stations were built and shipped to the Navajo Nation, where they are being deployed by the DigDeep Navajo Water Project to provide community handwashing capacity through the winter of 2021 and onward.
"This award isn't for me," Ceurvorst said. "It's for the Navajo Nation and anybody who benefits from this project — really anybody who's benefiting through IWSH or science and engineering; this is who we're doing this for."
"I want to give this award a shoutout to all of the little girls who are out there trying to do something with STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] or not sure they want to do something with STEM or engineering," Ashley said. "You are recognized, and you matter; as long as you stick with it and are passionate about it, you can go places."
A third IWSH Award was presented to Pavlich, the backbone of "Safer Water for Nome," a two-phase collaboration between IWSH and Local 68 to assess water quality and provide corrective measures for the community of around 500 people.
Jeremy worked tirelessly to connect residents and elected officials with licensed and certified plumbers, hosting a town hall during which he led a discussion on water quality, infrastructure and programs available to the community, and participating in "Days of Action," during which assessments were performed to determine which chemicals and other waterborne pathogens are present in the drinking water.
"We listened to some local kids who had concerns about their drinking water," Pavlich said. "These kids wanted to get to the bottom of why their water had issues with mustiness, with color, with taste. When it comes down to it, we applied the scientific method, we used licensed plumbers with certifications, and we found out what their issue was and how to remedy that situation."