Before enrolling in Oregon State University’s Water Resources Graduate Program to pursue a master’s degree, Jon Viducich lived for three years in rural Mozambique, where temperatures can hit 120 degrees and people walk up to 50 kilometer for water. Armed with a new bachelor’s degree in engineering and applied sciences from Seattle Pacific University, Viducich helped communities design and construct more than 30 sand dams — structures that retain rainy season runoff in sand for use during the dry season while minimizing evaporation, protecting water from contamination, and reducing mosquito habitat.
“My love for water and people developed when I was an undergrad,” said Viducich, who spent college summers doing water-related engineering work in South America. “My time abroad helped me connect the dots between the things I am passionate about — science and math, water security, environmental stewardship, and loving and taking care of people.”
After his stint in Mozambique, the Hillsboro, Oregon native returned to the United States and applied to graduate programs. Although he was accepted at Stanford and several other programs, he chose Oregon State after meeting Professor John Selker in the Department of Biological and Ecological Engineering.
“The main reason I’m here is John Selker,” Viducich said. “His passion really got me. He made me feel like he wanted me to be here. It was a very different feeling from other schools. And OSU’s Water Resources Graduate Program here is just phenomenal.”
When he graduates in June with a master’s degree in water resources engineering, Viducich plans to continue honing his water engineering skills and his passion for helping people, possibly working with water-starved communities in the American Southwest.
— Gregg Kleiner