Three U.S. Students Take Home Awards for Remediation Projects

The Adventus Group, a provider of soil, sediment, and groundwater bioremediation services, for the sixth consecutive year joined the University of Massachusetts Amherst to recognize emerging environmental scientists during the 25th Annual International Conference on Soils, Sediments and Water held in Boston. Three students were awarded $1,000 for the best overall scientific presentations by the Northeast Regional Environment Public Health Center and The School of Public Health.

"It is always encouraging to work with far-sighted firms that give back to the industry," said Dr. Paul Kostecki, senior advisor, Clean Energy China Initiative, Office of the President at University of Massachusetts Amherst. "This annual Student Award program is a superb way to bring the state-of-the-art information presented here to the next generation of scientists."

This year's contest winners were:

Pamela Schultz Birak, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, for her presentation on "Rheological Characteristics of Manufactured Gas Plant Tars and Implications for Remediation."

Kayleigh Dunnett, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, for her presentation on "Biodegradation of Tert-butyl Alcohol (TBA) using Biological Granular Activated Carbon (Bio-GAC)."

Laura Nicklaus, Department of Civil Engineering and Construction, Bradley University, for her presentation on "Magnesium Corrosion and Stabilization/Solidification Effectiveness Using the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure."

"These impressive young environmentalists all displayed superb thought leadership and presentation skills. Selecting the winning themes was extremely difficult, although the industry will surely be hearing more from these students in years ahead," said John Valkenburg of Adventus. "As our company continues to develop the next generation of remediation biotechnologies, it is our privilege to showcase the important role partnerships with the academic community and private sector organizations can play." Valkenburg added that the company has added a new feature called the Winner's Circle to its Web site, featuring an archived copy of the winning presentations. That online link is available at www.adventusgroup.com/library/studentawards.shtml.

This year's judging committee consisted of Scott R. Blaha (General Electric), Matthew Burns (WSP Environment & Energy), David Ludwig (ARCADIS), Dawn Oliveira (EFI Global Inc.), Frank Peduto (Spectra Environmental Group), Paul Rakowski (Booz, Allen, Hamilton), Richard Raymond (Terra Systems), Christopher Teaf (Florida State University), Stephen P. Truchon (ARCADIS), along with Valkenburg and Josephine Molin from the Adventus Group.

The evaluation factors used to rate the presentations included: Topic Selection/Innovation, Research and Analysis Techniques Utilized, Presentation/Poster Organization and Structure, Quality of Presentation Materials, and Communication of Presentation/Poster Content. Each presentation was ranked using a mathematical scale. Scores were tabulated by the committee, with awards provided to the three students possessing the highest total score.

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