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You’re from Alfred, New York too? Nice to meet you!

Checking out the machines

We are forming connections in Indonesia! Kristina Blank and Nick Rozard recently met Pak Arisitanto Barus who studied at Alfred University! His PhD. Advisor was Dr. Jenifer Taylor.  Pak Arisitanto is a ceramic engineer working at the Balai Besar Keramic in Bandung Indonesia, which is the government run ceramic research facility. This is similar to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the United States in the sense that they test ceramics and glass made in Indonesia. At the Balai Besar they also conduct research and courses for the Indonesian ceramic community.

When our host, Pak Suwardi, heard that I had studied at Alfred University, he excitedly introduced us to Pak Arisitanto.  Having common roots is exciting, and we spent more than an hour talking with Pak Arisitanto and sharing stories about Alfred. Later Pak Arisitanto’s wife was able to join us as well, and we got a nice photograph together.  I was able to email the photo to Dr. Vansantha Amarakoon, one of our mutual professors at Alfred University, and to my elation the email was forwarded out to a half dozen people, and then again to even more people! Very encouraging that such a large community can be so connected, engaged, and excited about the connections that we are building. Even though it has been only 2 weeks since we met Pak Arianto at the Balai Besar, today his wife, son, and two friends met me at the research labs in Yogyakarta. I know that this will be a lasting friendship.

Another connection that we made at the Balai Besar was with our host for the day Pak Suwardi.  Pak Suwardi is the head of the Technical Service and Development division.  Part of his job is to connect and liaise with industry like us.  This connection opens up a dialogue for future collaboration.  In collaboration we have so much to learn from them, and they also have much to learn from us.  One of the things that we learned from our host Pak Suwardi, was that there is not currently a national standard for ceramic water filters.  He said ‘. . . oh! you can make a standard for us’.  This is a very tempting offer.  Better standardization would greatly improve the overall safety of the whole industry.  A national standard would be a big step towards achieving the confidence of the people.  We are also looking into using a piece of testing equipment at the Balai Besar to map the pore structure that we are making. Needless to say, it is a very good connection for us to make, and they are equally as excited to be connected to us.

Nick and Kristina meeting friends from Alfred, New York!   From Left: Mbak Rini, Nick, Kristina, and Pak Arianto

Nick and Kristina meeting friends from Alfred, New York! From Left: Mbak Rini, Nick, Kristina, and Pak Arisitanto