Meet the Team

The 2010 Assets Team included four students in their junior year at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, USA. These students worked together from August until December 2010 in Massachusetts for eight weeks, and in Cape Town for eight weeks, to conduct research and implement interview techniques in order to compile the Profile of Assets. The process of interviewing important leaders and other members of the community of Monwabisi Park was a very meaningful experience for the students, as they were given a glimpse into the lives of so many interesting people. Throughout their time in Cape Town the team worked to develop an accurate profile of various assets of Monwabisi Park that will hopefully be useful to further redevelopment efforts in the community.

To contact the Profiling Community Assets team, email us at: or

Catherine Coleman


I am a junior at Worcester Polytechnic Institute perusing a double Bachelors of Science degree in Robotics Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. I applied to the Cape Town Project Centre because I want to make a difference in someones life. I like helping people; especially those who need it most. So far I have also traveled to Peru and Nicaragua, to help improve the lives of the people there. Working with the people in Monwabisi Park on an asset-based approach has changed my prospective of the world. Each person has something they can offer to make this world a better place no matter the circumstances they live in.

At school I am the Presidents of RoboKids, which is a volunteer organization that teaches underprivileged children about robotics and engineering. I am very passionate about robots and spend most of my free time either learning about them or working on them. Also in my free time I enjoy reading, bike riding, and watching movies.

James SeedPicture 17

Currently, I am completing my junior year at Worcester Polytechnic Institute studying Civil Engineering. On campus, I am a part of Engineers without Borders, which I have been an active member of since last year. Off campus, I have a part time job in my home town where I have been working since I was sixteen. My other hobbies include, playing the guitar, skiing, playing squash and disc golf.

I chose the Cape Town Project Centre to complete my IQP requirement for multiple reasons. I was attracted to South Africa due to its beautiful landscape and deep, interesting history. What really drew me into this center was learning about projects that were completed during previous years and I realized that it would be an amazing experience to work in an informal settlement. Most importantly, I am very pleased with the final product my team was able to complete over the past semester and I hope that it will be used to aid the development of Monwabisi Park.

Sean Minor


I am from Sherman Oaks, California and born March 13, 1990.  I am a Civil Engineering Major at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and very involved with my fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and the varsity baseball team.  Some of my hobbies outside of school include body boarding, hiking, and photography.  I live close to the beach in California and go whenever I can to enjoy the surf.  I combine my other hobbies of hiking and photography by traveling to various trails and taking pictures of the people, but especially the scenery, which surrounds me.

I decided to apply to the Cape Town Project Centre because the project of informal settlement upgrading seemed very appealing to me.  Another factor which contributed to my decision of Cape Town was the abundance of extracurricular activities.  It is a beautiful place, especially during November and December, with the options of going to the beach and hiking various trails.  I am very proud of my group’s deliverable in Cape Town, the “Monwabisi Profile of Assets.”  It is a compilation of all my hard work and dedication to the people of Monwabisi Park.

Juliana Wakeman


I am a junior Aerospace Engineering major and Management minor at WPI, originally from Saratoga Springs, New York. I chose the Cape Town Project Centre because I wanted the opportunity to experience a culture quite different from my own, and to be able to hopefully impact the lives of others in a positive way. Being welcomed into Monwabisi Park and becoming close with some of the co-researchers have been some of the most enjoyable parts of the project experience for me. Working with asset-based development and compiling an inventory of assets has been particularly rewarding, as we have had the privilege of learning so much about the lives of people very different from ourselves. It is my hope that the work we have started will truly contribute to improving living conditions for the people of Monwabisi Park.

Outside of academics, my extracurricular involvement at WPI has provided my most fun and rewarding college experiences. I am currently President of Colleges Against Cancer (CAC), President-Elect for 2011 of my sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma, and Chapter Excellence Chairman for Phi Sigma Sigma. I am also involved in the Student Support Network, Women’s Club Lacrosse, Society of Women Engineers, Women’s Industry Network, Order of Omega, and Communicating About Safety 101. Off campus I am also a member of the New England College Leadership Team for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, New England Division. I cannot imagine what my college experience would have been like without these organizations, especially Phi Sig and CAC, and the Cape Town Project Centre. They have rounded out my years at WPI and left me with lifelong friends and memories.