EWB-Miami Mentors

The mentors of the Miami University Student Chapter of EWB are what give our teams the tools that they need for success with our international and local projects. They volunteer their time to review, educate, and inspire us on the solutions we create for our partnered communities. Need help on something they specialize in? Reach out.


Chuck Dragga

Role: Chief Mentor for EWB Miami

Background: Chuck attended the University of Dayton for Civil Engineering. After graduation he joined the peace core for engineering brining him to a few years of work and residency in Sierra Leone in West Africa as well as Cairo, Egypt. He continued working domestically in engineering and IT until retiring to mentor EWB Miami, UC, Wright State, and participate in EWB-USA Engineering Service Corps projects.

Experience: Chuck has experience in drinking water, waste water treatment, construction and plumbing, and is a reviewer for EWB-USA projects.

Fun Facts: Loves beer, bird watching, and his dog Lexie.



Dr. Catherine Almquist

Role: Faculty Advisor and Professional Mentor

Background: Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Experience: Study abroad program in Australia and Guatemala in 2019

Fun Facts: Enjoys golf, hiking, and listening to music

Mike Brunner

Role: Professional Mentor

Background: BS Civil Engineering from Notre Dame. 41 years experience. Licensed Professional Engineer and Surveyor in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky

Experience: Design of roadways, sewer systems, lift stations, storm water detention/retention systems. Surveying for topographic mapping, property boundaries, GPS control nets. Proficient in AutoCAD.

Fun facts: Hobbies include beer-making, gardening, hiking, biking, and traveling. One of my uncles was in the CIA in the 1950s when he disappeared during an assignment in communist Eastern Europe

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Gordon Miller

Role: Professional Mentor with focus on Energy Technologies, such as stoves and solar, and also water processing

Background: MS Chemical Engineering USF. 38 years Engineering Leadership at P&G in Cincinnati and Memphis

Experience: Manufacturing Automation and Optimization, modeling and simulation, Corporate leader of recruiting of engineers and scientists. I have worked extensively in Asia, Europe and Mexico. Currently consulting part time.

Fun Facts: I was born and raised in Florida. I enjoy golf and the outdoors such as backpacking and fishing


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Katie Byrnes

Role: Rwanda Program Mentor

Background: BS in Mechanical Engineering with minor in Chemical Engineering, Wastewater Infrastructure engineering

Experience: 3 trips to Rwanda with EWB and previous EWB-Miami Rwanda Program Manager

Fun facts: enjoys yoga, beekeeping, and hiking

Dr. Vincent Hand

Role: Professional Mentor with focus on project management, chemistry and mapping

Background: Project Management Professional (PMP). Ph.D. in chemistry, studying water chlorination. Worked on environmental issues in industry and consulting.

Experience: EWB trips to Ecuador and Rwanda. Also brief work trips to El Salvador and Nicaragua. Assessed and mapped damage from Hurricanes Florence and Michael for American Red Cross. At Miami, taught in four engineering departments, plus environmental science.

Fun facts: Lived in Sydney, Australia for one year. Experienced 2 more winters than summers. (How can that happen?). Camped in 46 US states and 8 Canadian provinces, and hiked in most of them. Learned and taught EPA-NET Spanish version.

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Halle Miller

Role: Grant Writing Mentor

Background: Engineering Management, Environmental Science, and Humanitarian Engineering and Computing

Experience: EWB member since 2013 and past Miami-EWB President (2016)