AWRA convened two Summer Specialty Conferences this year and each one held a Student Presenter Competition. We wish to congratulate the winners of each.
A total of thirty-two students participated during both conferences in both oral and poster sessions. Conference attendees were given the opportunity to judge the students during their scheduled session. The following criteria was used for all competitors:

  • Efficient use of allotted presentation time or poster space.
  • Quality of responses to audience questions in oral or at poster sessions.
  • Effective integration of audio-visual materials.
  • Perceived preparedness.
  • Logic and understandability of material (problem, methods, results, conclusions).
  • Adequate description of context for material – conveyed purpose of paper, identified relevant literatures, etc.
  • Overall style and presence; effective communicator – enthusiasm or persuasiveness
  • Suitability for AWRA/professional audience.
  • Significance and originality of the material presented.

Everyone did a terrific job and made the decision difficult. Additionally, for the Contaminants Conference money was donated by the AWRA Colorado State Section and the Consortium for Research and Education on Emerging Contaminants (CREEC) allowing for six awards to be made rather than the usual two. Thank you to both these organizations for their support of the conference.

And be sure to check out our scholarship recipients here!

Riparian Ecosystems IV:  Advancing Science, Economics, and Policy Student Presenter Winners


julia hyman lazarJulia Hyman Lazar, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
Woody debris: Denitrification Hotspots and N2O Production in Fluvial Systems
(co-authors:  Art Gold, Kelly Addy, Paul Mayer, Ken Forshay, Peter Groffman) Oral

Julia grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut and graduated from Dickinson College in the spring of 2006 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a minor in Geology. While attending undergrad she spent a semester studying ecology at the University East Anglia in England and a semester studying conservation biology in Namibia with the Save the Rhino Trust.  Before starting at the University of Rhode Island to begin her PhD as an NSF IGERT fellow, Julia worked for two years as the Environmental Scientist for the Long Island Soundkeeper, a small CT nonprofit organization devoted to protecting the Long Island Sound.   Her past work experience also includes conducting surveys for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, working in the lab at a sewage treatment facility in Fairfield, Connecticut, writing a policy guidance document for Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Management Council regarding stormwater runoff in the Greenwich Bay watershed, and interning at the EPA in Narragansett, researching carbon sequestration rates in northeast coastal wetlands.   While attending URI Julia’s advisor is Dr. Arthur Gold and she is focusing on denitrification hotspots in fluvial systems.

matthew panuntoMatthew Panunto, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD
Effects of Valley Segment Sequencing on Floodplain Hydroperiods (co-authors: Pierre-André Jacinthe, Philippe Vidon, Matthew Baker, Katelin Fisher, Xiaoqiang Liu) Poster

Matthew Panunto is a spring 2012 graduate of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Geography and Environmental Systems under the guidance of Dr. Matthew Baker. His work focused on developing geospatial methods to characterize the morphology of river valleys from digital elevation models, and using the hydraulic model HEC-RAS to investigate flood dynamics for the White River Drainage Basin, located in south-central Indiana. Matthew’s other interests include identifying effects of riparian ecosystems and land use on water quality.

Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Water Resources II:  Student Presenter Winners

bowen duBowen Du, Baylor University, Waco, TX

Bioaccumulation of Pharmaceuticals and Other Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Different Trophic Levels Residing in the North Bosque River, an Effluent-Dominated Stream, Texas, USA (co-authors: J. P. Berninger, K. A. Connors, T. M. Conry, C. K. Chambliss, B. W. Brooks)

Bowen Du is Ph.D. student in The Institute of Ecological, Earth, Environmental Sciences and the Department of Environmental Science at Baylor University. His research focuses on developing approaches for understanding exposure of various contaminants of emerging concerns (CECs) in an effort to reduce uncertainty during environmental risk assessment and management.  Bowen holds a BS in Environmental Science from Northeast Forestry University (China) and a MS degree in Environmental Science from Baylor University.

emma wilsonEmma Wilson, Boise State University, Boise, ID

Using microcosms to infer fungicide impact on black fly associated gut fungi (co-authors:  K. L. Smalling, T. J. Reilly, E. W. Gray, J. W. Gause, M. M. White)  Poster

Field studies of the effects of fungicides on non-target gut fungi and pesticide accumulation in their black fly hosts (co-authors:  K. L. Smalling, T. J. Reilly, L. Steele, P. Kandel, A. B. Chamberlin, M. M. White)  Oral

Emma R. Wilson is a graduate research assistant and master’s of science candidate at Boise State University in the Department of Biological Sciences. Emma is investigating how fungicides affect non-target fungi in the group trichomycetes, or gut fungi, which are symbiotic with many aquatic macroinvertebrates. Emma is conducting one of the first field-based assessments of non-target impacts on fungi by comparing streams with different surrounding land uses in Idaho. She has also developed laboratory microcosm experiments to test the effects of field-relevant fungicide concentrations on gut fungi, both in vitro and in vivo. Emma holds bachelor’s of science degree from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Environmental Biology. She has always been interested in water quality, natural sciences and the environment and looks forward to developing a career in this exciting field.

kristin connorsKristin Connors, Baylor University, Waco, TX

Opportunities and challenges integrating comparative pharmacology approaches during ecological risk assessments for contaminants of emerging concern (co-authors:  J. P. Berninger, B. W. Brooks) Oral

Kristin A. Connors is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Institute of Biomedical Studies and Department of Environmental Science at Baylor University.  Her interdisciplinary research efforts with Dr. Bryan W. Brooks focus on developing chemically and biologically based “read-across” approaches to support environmental assessments of contaminants of emerging concern.  Ms. Connors holds BS and MS degrees from the University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota, Duluth.

andrew madsenAndrew Madsen, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Tracking EDC-Resistant Bacteria in Wastewater Impacted Surface Waters (co-author: O. Conroy-Ben)

Andrew Madsen is a graduate student at the University of Utah. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering under the direction of Dr. Otakuye Conroy-Ben. He earned his bachelors of science in chemistry with a biological emphasis from the University of Utah in 2011. His current research focuses on endocrine disrupting chemicals and their interactions with drug efflux pumps. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife, Tracy, and his daughter, Hadley.

Cheryl Bertelkamp Cheryl Bertelkamp, Delft University, Delft, The Netherlands

Sorption and Biodegradation of Organic Micropoullutants during Riverbank Filtration (co-authors:  J. Reungoat, S. Botton, E. Ghadiri, J.P. van der Hoek, A.R.D. Verliefde, E. Cornelissen, N. Singhal) Oral

Cheryl Bertelkamp was born in 1986 in Naarden, the Netherlands. She obtained her BSc degree in Civil Engineering at Delft University of Technology in 2008 after which she started her MSc Water Management at the same university. She did a three month internship in Australia at Deakin University in collaboration with Coliban Water. She investigated possible causes of high ammonia levels in the wastewater treatment plant effluent, resulting in problems for the subsequent additional treatment processes used to recycle treated wastewater further to a class A water, and received an award from the faculty for this internship. For her MSc thesis, she was involved in a project on organic micropollutant removal with the advanced oxidation process (UV/H2O2) at drinking water company Dunea Duin en Water, the Netherlands. She investigated different pre-treatment techniques for the UV/H2O2 process regarding their energy savings in the subsequent UV/H2O2 process as well as the effect on the water quality (e.g. scavengers). In 2010 she graduated cum laude and started her PhD research under the supervision of Professor van der Hoek (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands) and Professor Verliefde (Ghent University, Belgium). In this project “Emerging Substances: Towards an Absolute Barrier (ESTAB)”, she investigates a new treatment concept, consisting of river bank filtration, followed by membrane filtration and granular activated carbon, which can possibly provide a complete barrier for all organic micropollutants.

emily woowardEmily Woodward, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

Vadose Zone Transport of Estrogen Hormones at Penn State’s Living Filter (co-authors:  D. Andrews, J. Watson)

Emily just completed her Masters in the Crop and Soil Science Department at The Pennsylvania State University, and she is staying to start her PhD this fall in the Ecosystem Science and Management Department. When Emily not in the lab, she tends to spend most of her free time pursuing outdoor activities: hiking, rock climbing, camping, sports, etc.  Emily’s passion for outdoor activity has influenced her career thus far, motivating her to tailor her research towards environmental concerns. During her Masters she focused on recent emerging environmental contaminants, endocrine disrupting compounds. Emily quantified estrogen hormone accumulation in soils that had been irrigated with wastewater effluent over the past 25+ years, site located in State College, PA. For her PhD, she will continue this work by comparing these findings to other wastewater irrigation sites across the country and attempting to establish natural background levels for estrogen hormones in the environment. Emily’s future goal is to work for the United States government as an analytical researcher, helping to optimize our country’s use of water resources.

Again, our congratulations on a job well done to all those students who were in the competition and we wish them all the best in their future endeavors.  We look forward to hearing more from everyone at future AWRA conferences!


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