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Graphic Design Student Helps Farmers in Thailand

July 26, 2013

Graphic Design alumna Krissy Beck (class of 2013) traveled to Thailand this past month to help design agricultural tools and techniques for Thai farmers as part of the Drexel Thai Harvest Initiative. Each year, the Graphic Design program chooses one student to participate in the initiative. Beck, who graduated in June, said her initial interest in the program came from her friendship with last year's Graphic Designer for the team, Hannah Olin. “It seemed like a wonderful opportunity to use my experience to help others,” says Beck.

Drexel Mechanical Engineering Professor Dr. Alex Moseson has led the Drexel Thai Harvest Initiative since its inception in 2009, with a mission of solving three main challenges for Thai farmers in harvesting rice: creating tools that are easier to use for the difficult terrain; developing a less time-consuming rice harvesting process; and finding methods to improve harvest yield. As the team’s graphic designer, Beck was responsible for the instruction manuals for the various tools designed for the Thai farmers.

“The team only travels to Thailand once per year, so these manuals are a crucial leave-behind,” says Beck. “In the case of the Rice Planter Manual, it give the farmers the opportunity to create their own tools without the aide of the Drexel team, and with the Water Testing Manual, the people are able to test their own water for harmful bacteria. While many of the farmers can read, it is important to have these pictorial manuals so that those who are illiterate can still benefit from the efforts of the team.” 

Beck describes her experiences in Thailand as “absolutely unforgettable,” and recommends that other graphic design students apply their talents to social causes. “The Drexel Thai Harvest Initiative is an amazing opportunity to take the skills that we have learned at Drexel and apply them towards a greater cause,” she says. “It also provides the rare opportunity to design in such a unique environment. More than anything, I wanted to be a part of something much bigger than myself, and the Thai Harvest Initiative did not disappoint.”