Stanford Mechanical Engineering Student Spends Summer Building Better Homes for Refugees

Hannah Yuh Watkins is an undergraduate Stanford student majoring in Mechanical Engineering. She spent two weeks in Jordan this past summer to continue working with Mawa Modular, a company that builds modular, sustainable housing for refugees in Jordan. This trip allowed Hannah to assist in the project. Hannah also participated in efforts to make significant modifications to the design of the housing structures. After her successful internship at Mawa Modular, Hannah was able to bring back samples of the wall and roof to support a Stanford mechanical engineering capstone project that will be going to Jordan in the winter.

Despite growing up in Abu Dhabi, Hannah never got a chance to immerse herself in Arabic. While the goal of the trip was not for language immersion, Hannah said that “this trip was a way of weaving personality and culture into the words I spoke. When I went back to Abu Dhabi, I found expressions coming out instinctively. This comfort with the language is something I would not have achieved without this trip.”

Hannah reflects fondly on the trip’s highlights: how she was able to spend time with her family, coordinate visits with them to Petra and Wadi Rum, enjoy the delicious food, and develop a project to provide dignified housing to refugees in Jordan. Hannah expressed her gratitude to the Abbasi Program “for unlocking such an enriching experience.”