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04-10-2007

Clarkson University's Environmental Design Team Wins Second Place at Competition in New Mexico

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/cure2007.jpg

The Clarkson team's design task was to create a treatment process for small produce growers (150-acre farms) to treat surface water that they use in applying crop protection materials before use. The surface water often contains harmful bacteria and viruses, which can make people sick. The students designed a simple, cost-effective system to remove bacteria and viruses from the water. cure2007

They determined that a 150-acre farm would only apply crop protection chemicals on average of one day a month and need only 3,000 gallons per application. The students went a step further and developed a mobile system that could be shared within a farmer's co-op to reduce costs for individual farmers. Up to 20 farmers could share the trailered apparatus.

"The students' score brought them to a second-place finish in the contest," said Professor Amy Zander, team co-advisor along with Professor Thomas Holsen. "However, the first-place finisher earned the highest numerical score ever in the 17 years of the competition, so our score, less than 10 points (out of a possible 2000) behind first place, was a very good finish. It was potentially the second highest finish ever."

"A national environmental consulting firm has expressed interest in taking the system to market with help from Clarkson University," said Zander. "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also took a strong interest in the design."

The contest provides a competitive challenge and means of interaction for university and high school students who are involved in environmental education.

The Clarkson team members are Bryan Beckingham, a senior chemical engineering major from Holley, N.Y.; Rachel Bernat, a senior civil engineering major from Gouverneur, N.Y.; Ann Colt, a senior environmental engineering major from Massena, N.Y.; Margaret Cornelius, a senior e-business major from Ballston Spa, N.Y.; Samuel Gorton, a senior chemical engineering major from Sheldon, Vt.; Ashlie Gregoire, a senior engineering and management major from Cortland, N.Y.; Jaime Harkins, a junior engineering and management major from Edwards, N.Y.; Lindsay Hoffman, a senior environmental engineering major from Clarence, N.Y.; Shannon Hopkins, a senior engineering and management major from Amsterdam, N.Y.; Sandra Johnston, a senior civil engineering major from Kenmore, N.Y.; Melissa Kipp, a junior civil engineering major from Bridgeport, Vt.; Dennis Krause, a junior engineering and management major from Raymondville, N.Y.; Steve Logan, a junior civil engineering major from Hanover, N.H.; Richard Moeller, a senior engineering and management major from Baldwinsville, N.Y.; Scott Petersen, a senior environmental engineering major from Binghamton, N.Y.; Alison Rielly, a senior civil engineering major from Waddington, N.Y.; Rebecca Riner, a senior engineering and management major from Elba, N.Y.; Jason Rommel, a senior civil engineering major from Cold Brook, N.Y.; Francis Schumaci III, a senior civil engineering major from Clinton, N.Y.; Matthew Thomas, a senior civil engineering major from Sidney Center, N.Y.; Michael Tushaj, a senior civil engineering major from Catskill, N.Y.; Elizabeth Urban, a senior civil engineering major from Waverly, N.Y.; and Christopher Wood, a senior environmental engineering major from Erin, N.Y.

The SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) program is one of the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering hallmark initiatives exemplifying Clarkson's boundary-spanning approach to education. SPEED promotes multidisciplinary, project-based learning opportunities for more than 250 undergraduates annually. Projects involve engineering design and analysis, and fabrication. In addition, students learn real-world business skills such as budget management, effective teamwork, and communications skills. SPEED receives its primary financial support from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation with contributions from ExxonMobil and Turner Construction Company. The program was recognized with the 2001 Boeing Outstanding Educator Award and the 2002 Corporate and Foundation Alliance Award for its exceptional contributions to improving undergraduate engineering education.

Clarkson University, located in Potsdam, New York, is a private, nationally ranked university with a reputation for developing innovative leaders in engineering, business, the sciences, health sciences and the humanities. At Clarkson, 3,000 high-ability students excel in an environment where learning is not only positive, friendly and supportive but spans the boundaries of traditional disciplines and knowledge. Faculty achieves international recognition for their research and scholarship and connects students to their leadership potential in the marketplace through dynamic, real-world problem solving.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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