I am a science teacher and dorm parent at Milton Academy in Massachusetts. Although I have been a chemistry teacher for over 20 years, I also occasionally teach a class in which I use science fiction to challenge and inspire students to find creative solutions to issues in science/technology/society that they may not have even realized exist. When I began the class years ago, the first time many of my students considered a world affected by a lack of water was in Frank Hebert’s “Dune”, but now the issue has moved from science fiction to current events. As a college student, I had a job testing the water quality in the reservoir that provides water to the vast majority of our state’s population; just two years ago, the reservoir, which had never dropped below 80% capacity in the first 90 years of its existence, dipped below 50% full. In conversation with Mark Heath (who is also on this trip) we realized we could connect my class to his Economics of Sustainable Development class using the Water Wars in Bolivia, and so here we are.
I currently live with 40 teenage boys, many of whom are international students. Although I am from the United States, I attended international school abroad for much of high school and so the majority of my friends came from countries that I had not only never visited, but which in an embarrassing number of cases I had to look on a map to locate. Since then I have been able to travel to the home countries of many of my classmates, but this will be my first trip to South America. I am very much looking forward to meeting you all and adding to my understanding of the intertwined science, politics and culture of water in Bolivia.