Junior Esther Buckwalter—winner of the nationally coveted Morris K. Udall Scholarship—has all the tools to solve a significant piece of the global water crisis. The extra bonus Buckwalter brings is her ability to charm those around her while doing it.
Buckwalter’s environmental engineering resume and humanitarian dossier would be impressive for anyone three times her age. She has spent the last three years as a grassroots activist working on environmental and sustainability issues in places as distant as Asia and as local as Buffalo’s East Side.
With communication and engineering skills honed from her summer studies in both Mexico and Indonesia (where she helped test ceramic water filters for survivors of natural disasters), Buckwalter inspires confidence she can face whatever formidable Third World or inner-city problem she tackles.
“Water amazes me,” says Buckwalter, an Alfred, N.Y. native and a UB Honors College Presidential Scholar. “Water forms our landscapes, dictates the functions of our bodies, grows our food sources and powers some of our cities. It’s so basic and necessary.”
Her current project: exploring how to reuse water extracted from the mechanized composting process at UB. After graduation, she plans to pursue a position as a Peace Corps engineer in Latin America and devote herself to improving global access to safe drinking water.