Donald Swen

Age: 23
Home Town: Sunnyvale, California
Education: B.A. in Physics (Willamette University), B.S. in Materials Science Engineering (Columbia University)
Specific Field Interests: Intermediate Technology, Urban Development, Environmental Sustainability
Placement: Alaap in Champawat, Uttarakhand
Area of Focus: Livelihoods

Fellowship Project: Design a business model for a social enterprise combating climate change and poverty through reforestation and sustainable livelihoods generation in the rural Himalayas.

Highlights: Donald is serving as an American India Foundation (AIF) Clinton Fellow with Alaap in Champawat, Uttarakhand. For his Fellowship project, he is designing a business model for a social enterprise combating climate change and poverty through reforestation and sustainable livelihoods generation in the rural Himalayas. Donald recently graduated from a dual degree program in physics and in materials science engineering. As an undergraduate, he participated in three summer research internships, two being in Japan and Austria, in topics ranging from flexible electronics to designing transducers for quantum computing. His interests include appropriate and affordable technology, sustainable urban infrastructure development, and human centered design. He has participated in the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship program in Jaipur for his Hindi. His most recent project is designing and implementing a six kilometer water distribution system for two villages in the Ait Bayoud Commune of Morocco. He will be joining the AIF Clinton Fellowship to work closely with communities in the Himalayas and to define and create impact metrics for an early-phase social enterprise.

Posts by donald_swen

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Notes on Needfinding: Co-Creating the Future

After interviewing over 70 farmers with my team, I thought I would do a quick […]

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Quiet Solace in Our City

The door was closed and I didn’t mind staying behind. At a time when the […]

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Architecting Systemic Change: A Framework for Addressing the Climate Crisis

Our world is hardly so simple. If we want to solve the climate crisis, the […]

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Ethnographic Field Expedition II: Sirsi

In my last blog, I shared highlights from our research trip to Bagepalli. In our […]

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Ethnographic Field Expedition I: Bagepalli

After landing at the food system, it was time to take a deep dive into […]

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Harnessing the Power of the Collective Wisdom

Part of my work as an AIF Clinton Fellow at a nonprofit called Alaap has […]

rural community working together
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My Introduction to the AIF Clinton Fellowship

Relentless dreaming to me means persevering in this dream of mine. It is clear that […]

coconut forest
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Applying Design Thinking to Coconut Farming

My journey as an AIF Clinton Fellow placed with a start-up social enterprise in rural […]

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