Industrial Engineering Student Recognized for Work Abroad

Megan Peters, a senior industrial engineering student, has been awarded the John L. Imhoff Scholarship from Alpha Pi Mu, an industrial engineering honor society. This nationally competitive scholarship, which was endowed by late University of Arkansas engineering professor John Imhoff, recognizes a student who has shown leadership in globalization activities.

Peters, a native of Van Buren, Ark., is working on an industrial engineering degree with a minor in sustainability. She is conducting research on water resource management techniques. Her interest in water resource development stems from her experiences abroad in Belize and Mozambique.

 “I’ve always been interested in different cultures and engaging in different cultures. You see how other people live, and how they deal with challenges and the constraints from things that we take for granted everyday. It has made my priorities clearer, and defined my sense of urgency in different aspects of my life. On my first trip to Belize, I saw the importance of clean water, and then how people live when they don’t have accessibility to it,” said Peters.

She worked to create cleaner water resources for the people of Belize, and she was included in the co-management of a project to help install a water fountain at a primary school. Peters presented her work at the International Water Conference at the University of Oklahoma in 2011. The following year, Peters travelled to Belize a second time, where she helped build the foundation for a water tower, and interviewed locals about water and health to help her gain better understanding of the communities and people living there. She presented her work again at the American Society for Engineering Management Annual Conference in 2012, overviewing her work of providing clean potable water to communities.

In the summer of 2012, Peters travelled to Mozambique where she worked for the Noros Horizontes Poultry Company for three weeks, creating a standard operating procedure for the processing plant and making efficiency and worker safety recommendations. She also taught physics at the Repali International School, and created the “Think Globally, Act Locally” world awareness video. She returned six months later to Mozambique by herself, as the Arkansas Engineers Abroad representative, to help initialize future projects, as well as work on projects including small-scale water filtration systems, solar panel installation, and various means to increase water supply on farmland.

To add to her work globally, Peters has also worked on U.S. soil, interning at the CH2M Hill Fayetteville Wastewater Project, a business with sustainable initiatives operating the Paul R. Noland Wastewater Treatment Plant. She served as a project manager in the design of a thermal dryer exhaust odor relief system, a carbon burn system that reduces the odor of final release exhaust in the air. She also initialized a database, and created standard operation procedures for the management site and trucking activities among other duties.

This isn’t the first time Peters has been recognized nationally. She was also awarded the 2012-2013 Institute of Industrial Engineers Lisa Zaken Award for Excellence. Despite her success, Peters remains humble, “winning this award is surreal. If you had told me a year ago that I would be recognized nationally for my work, I wouldn’t have believed you. I didn’t do the work thinking that was going to happen, but it is an honor and I’m very thankful I’ve had the opportunities I’ve had.”

In addition to the John L. Imhoff Scholarship, Peters’ study abroad experiences were generously supported by the John L. Imhoff Global Studies Endowment administered by the Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineering. The department of industrial engineering also provided partial matching funds to support her travel to Mozambique and Belize. This summer, she will be traveling to Puerto Rico for the Institute of Industrial Engineers Annual Conference and Expo, to present on the Value of Global Studies. Peters has already accepted a job, as a logistics engineer at J.B. Hunt. In the future she hopes for more opportunities to travel and work on large-scale projects in different countries around the world.

Release date: 4/24/2013