Engineers Without Borders: Helping communities meet their needs around the world

These are just some of the problems Merangeli Morales Gonzalez, a senior structural engineer, has worked to solve across Puerto Rico alongside her colleagues at Pratt & Whitney, a Raytheon Technologies business. Morales Gonzalez leads the business' Puerto Rico chapter of the organization Engineers Without Borders, which helps communities around the world meet basic human needs through improvements in critical infrastructure.

“Many people assume services like these have a solid infrastructure and are taken care of because they are public services,” Morales Gonzalez said of the fire stations. “Yet we’ve seen firsthand that is not always the case.”

Engineers Without Borders is among Raytheon Technologies’ partners in its Connect Up initiative, which aims to lift up underserved communities around the world. More than 200 employees from across the company are using their skills to support water-access projects in Puerto Rico, Guatemala, and, in the continental United States, Connecticut. Since 2010, the group has completed dozens of projects in the U.S. and abroad, in countries including India, Nepal and Tanzania.


“Our team brought so much comfort to our community. They knew someone was here, ready to help them rebuild.”

Merangeli Morales Gonzalez | senior structural engineer | Pratt & Whitney in Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico, Morales Gonzalez’s team focuses on long-term, sustainable improvements to the island’s infrastructure, including the project to bring firefighters a steady power supply. In that effort, Engineers Without Borders is partnering with an organization called Solar Responders to equip each station with its own renewable energy backup system.

Morales Gonzalez and her team lead the assessment and auditing portion of the efforts, ensuring the solar panels are installed correctly and can withstand environmental threats like earthquakes. The outcome: Instead of worrying about how to keep the lights on, first responders can focus on keeping communities safe.

As part of their work, Morales Gonzalez and her team make it a point to meet with those first responders regularly to make sure the projects they’re undertaking meet specific needs. 

“We make sure they feel heard, and they know that we are here to support them how we can,” she said.

For Morales Gonzalez, the program has enabled her to develop her engineering skills while helping her community – and to take on a challenge that has a personal connection. 

“It’s very rewarding to use my professional experience and expertise in a way that gives back directly to my community,” she said. “That’s what made this opportunity for me really special.”

Morales Gonzalez encourages anyone considering a career in engineering to embrace that interest and use their skills to serve others – something her team was happy to do in response to the Puerto Rico earthquakes of late 2019 and early 2020. 

“Our team brought so much comfort to our community,” she said. “They knew someone was here, ready to help them rebuild.”