|Mr. Mike German earned a B.S. chemical engineering in 2009 from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he led numerous service and engineering groups. His opportunities throughout Baltimore in various capacities gave him an understanding of the vicious and complex workings of poverty and compassion for the less fortunate. Prior to beginning a Ph.D. in environmental engineering at Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, he worked as a research associate, and then organized a cross-country bike trip to raise money for clean water and explore the U.S. An easily excitable extrovert, Mr. German (a.k.a. Papa Bear) coordinated the majority of the logistics during the bike trip and slept in the homes or churches of 40 sets of new acquaintances.
While at Lehigh, he trained for and ran the Baltimore Marathon to raise funds and awareness for community reconciliation efforts in post-war communities, especially Sierra Leone. He also played the part of Santa Claus during the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering holiday party. Lately, Mr. German is refocusing his energies on entrepreneurship to bring the prospect of clean water to millions of people more than through charity alone. He has won $11,000 in cash and in-kind gifts through recent business plan competitions.
Mr. German’s Fulbright research project, “Integrated Approach to Mitigate Arsenic Crisis in the States of Bihar and West Bengal,” seeks to address the question: How can the public health of current and future citizens be protected from toxic levels of arsenic? In the 1970s, poor sanitation practices and water infrastructure in Southeast Asia motivated the international community to provide free and safe water to people through shallow groundwater tube wells. Lack of groundwater testing prior to drilling has led to the “largest mass poisoning in history” of over 100 million people in West Bengal, Bangladesh, Cambodia, etc. through natural arsenic contamination of groundwater. The problem was discovered only a decade after well installations when many people presented with skin discoloration-- melanosis and keratosis.