There really is no keeping up with James Doss-Gollin, a rising senior at Yale University and proud New Haven Scholar. He and Wilbur Cross classmate Jordy Padilla — also a Promise Scholar — founded New Haven REACH shortly after heading to college with the goal of helping city students transition from high school to college.
But James is also a global citizen, who frequently ventures out into the world to apply his learning to real-world application. Currently he is serving a Yale Fellowship in Fortaleza, Brazil, working with professors and doctoral students in the Department of Hydraulic & Environmental Engineering at the Universidade Federal do Ceará. James is on the left in the photo alongside two doctoral students.
We’ll let him explain his mission:
“We’re trying to find more secure and more sustainable ways to ensure that people in this part of Brazil have reliable access to water. It’s the poorest part of the country and subject to frequent droughts. One of the solutions that the government has recently come up with is building big water tanks — cisterns — in backyards so that they can collect rainwater in the rainy season and store it for the dry season.
“At the moment I am writing a computer program to calculate the probability is of a rainwater cistern in any given part of the state running dry. The goal is to make sure that they’re building these cisterns in places where they will help people… and finding other solutions to help people where they won’t work. We’re also going to take climate change into account in the program.
“Although I’m having a lot of fun with this work, I want to get out into the country. You can learn a lot at a university, but it’s never the same as seeing them with your own eyes.
“I’m really excited to be here because it’s putting the math and science things I did in problem sets to work on this issue that I really care about. I hadn’t really realized how many scientists (and engineers!) work on things like this that are so connected to every-day life.”
Left unsaid is how excited James is to be in Brazil as the FIFA World Cup begins. Fortaleza is near the Eastern-most point of Brazil, far north of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.