University of Guanajuato Environmental Engineering Students Learn about Water and Waste Water Treatment at GateWay


It all started with Mario Castaneda and University of Guanajuato professors Javier Rubio Velasquez and Gilberto Carreño Aguilera. The three had the common interest of finding solutions to problems such as a lack of groundwater, which is the main water problem in Guanajuato, says Carreño, “We don’t have much water in Guanajuato.”

Together, they began a program with the objective of teaching, as well as learning from each other, water resources engineering with the first class of students participating in Fall 2013. The collaboration has included trips to Phoenix for the professors and students. The most recent trip took place in June 2015 where the students and Carreño, a chemistry professor, spent a week at GateWay with Castaneda. 

“I wanted to come to GateWay to learn about the water quality tests here, because obviously in Mexico, we have different norms for water quality, so I’m very interested in why, for example, you can drink water directly from the sink while we can’t,” says Alberto Arias, one of the three students visiting.

Phoenix is located in the middle of a dessert, which attracted the group to GateWay to learn more about how water is managed in the state.

“The students are interested in coming here because they are also interested in the water problem,” says Carreño. “I don’t know where the water you drink comes from. I don’t know if Phoenix has a project to use rainwater. I want to know all about the water problem in Phoenix and compare it to our water problems in Guanajuato.”

Quite a bit of learning for both the students and the professors in the program is occurring. For some of the students, the GateWay campus provided its own allure.

“Your college is actually very cool. It’s so complete; your laboratory is so clean,” says Arias. He mentioned comparing technologies between the countries was another reason he decided to do the program and he did notice a difference between the technology used at the GateWay and the technology used at the University of Guanajuato. “You get the best technology obviously that we don’t have back in Mexico. That’s a huge advantage for you.”

For Arias, he hopes to take all the knowledge he gained at GateWay back to Mexico and share it with his teachers and fellow classmates as well as apply it to the environment.

“I care about the environment and I think that the most important thing about it is water. As we know, water is life, so I can give back to the environment.”

Castaneda, who started the program two years ago is encouraged by the learning he is seeing in both the students and the faculty.

“I think the students are learning a lot about water and waste water treatment, and it will help them immensely as future environmental engineers, especially since they are learning at GateWay,” says Castaneda. After all, the program is meant for students and professors to learn in an environment they’re not accustomed to.

Carreño plans on bringing another 10 students, with another professor, to GateWay in December to learn about hydrology. 

Story submitted by Daisy Araujo, a student intern through the TRiO/Prosper program at GateWay. For more information, please call (602) 286-8228.

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