About 120 students, faculty and guests gathered in Duke Energy Hall at Hunt Library to discuss pressing issues and innovative research at the 2023 Environmental, Water Resources, and Coastal Engineering (EWC) Graduate Research Symposium on March 10.
The annual, student-organized symposium highlights the current research conducted by CCEE’s EWC group, providing an opportunity for graduate students to gain experience in preparing and delivering 28 posters and six oral presentations of their research.
This year’s keynote speaker was Meagan Mauter, associate professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Global Environmental Policy at Stanford University. Mauter spoke on maximizing the value of infrastructure investments for human and environmental benefit.
In the research presentation competition, Hezhou (Jenny) Ding won first place for “Intermittent Heat Shocks Reduce Methane Gas Production and Promote Volatile Fatty Acid Generation during Anaerobic Co-Digestion of Food Waste,” and Ryan McCune won second place for “On-device machine learning for identifying the spatial extent of chronic coastal floods.” There was a three-way tie for third place: Kingston Armstrong for “Agent-Based Simulation of Emergent Deicer Strategies that Reverse Freshwater Salinization,” Nadia Sheppard for “Concentration and accumulation history of PFAS in Jordan Lake Sediments,” and Leah Weaver for “Fungal Bioremediation of Stormwater for Pesticide Removal.” In the oral presentation competition, Ashley Bittner won first place for “Characterizing Emissions from Diverse Domestic Biofuel Uses in Rural Malawi.”
The symposium was organized by a student committee headed by Ph.D. student Cade Karrenberg and advised by Fernando Garcia Menendez, Andy Grieshop, Dan Obenour, Francis de los Reyes and Angela Harris.
Karrenberg said that the symposium is a great way for graduate students to engage with other graduate students who are doing similar or very different research.
“Being a grad student, I think it’s really easy to kind of hyper focus on what you’re doing individually,” they said. “It can feel really big and scary. You’re not always sure if everyone’s going through the same thing emotionally or technically — like when you get stuck on a code or your experiment doesn’t go right. Not only is this an opportunity to see other graduate students’ work, but you can engage with them in a different way — either one-on-one or in smaller groups. It gives you a chance to talk about some of the issues that they’re also having, and there’s a feeling of camaraderie and connection.
“Sharing ideas is the epitome of academia. Research is sharing ideas, and so being able to see what other people are doing can only help any research.”
For more information on the event, including student advisors, research, posters and oral talks, check out this year’s event program.
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