Alumni Spotlight

HENRY M. ROWAN COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

Alumni Spotlight

Walt Walker’s epiphany happened at 35,000 feet.

Seated on an airplane next to his mentor and environmental engineering professor Dr. Kauser Jahan, the then-college senior and civil engineering major reflected on the profound experience he had just had working on a clean water project in Bangladesh. The clinic project, led by Jahan, involved building a water infrastructure using plants to remove naturally occurring arsenic in the groundwater supply. “The field visits really opened my eyes,” Walker says. “Seeing the lack of electricity and lack of water infrastructure - a pond used for a variety of purposes. You experience how grateful people are to see you there, to help them.”

“The experience moved me,” Walker continues. “I was looking for that extra push to determine what direction to go professionally, and on the plane on our flight home is when Dr. Jahan told me about Engineers Without Borders.”

The trip spurred Walker to earn his master’s in environmental engineering and, upon graduating, join the Philadelphia chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

Today, Walker serves as president of the organization.

“Engineers Without Borders is a part of who I am,” Walker says. “And I bring that mindset into the office. It is so much bigger than a project - it has helped to build my soft skills and enhanced my capacity as an engineer.”

Engineers Without Borders’ focus is not just on the technology aspect, but on the capacity-building aspect as well. Walker emphasizes, “We are not a charity.” Instead, the organization builds community partnerships, investing time and resources to work alongside local people over a period of five to 10 years to create sustainable systems.

“The Rowan engineering program let me find out a lot more about myself and my passions,” Walker says, leading to his professional success today.