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.”