Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences

EEES Graduate Students Win Prestigious Environmental Scholarships

Laura DiGiacomo in front of an LC/MS/MS instrument that is used to measure PFAS.

Laura DiGiacomo and Claire Funk were awarded scholarships from the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) and the Environmental Engineering & Science Foundation (EESF), respectively.

EREF is a national organization with the mission to develop and evaluate new approaches to managing municipal solid waste through advances in scientific research and to provide scholarships to America’s brightest and best, thereby enabling innovation in sustainable waste management practices.  Laura received a Waste Industries Scholarship Honoring Lonnie C. Poole Jr. of $15,000 per year for up to three years.  She is a doctoral student working with Dr. Ezra Cates on novel photochemical methods to destroy  per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of compounds commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because of their propensity to persistent in the environment and enter the food chain.

Claire Funk sampling anaerobic batch bottles used for her experiment.

EESF dedicates its resources to education, research, and awards focused on outstanding Environmental Engineering and Science achievement. Claire is one of the recipients of the $2,500 scholarship awarded to outstanding students seeking/pursuing M.S. in Environmental Engineering programs at various schools nationwide.  She is working with Dr. Sudeep Popat on improving methods to convert fats, oils, and grease (FOG) waste into methane gas by its co-digestion with municipal wastewater sludge.  This solves a major waste disposal problem and allows utilities to increase their “green” methane production.

Congratulations to Laura, Claire, and their advisors.