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Young Scholars Past Projects

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The Clarkson Young Scholars Program is an innovative and challenging summer program at Clarkson University that attracts bright, creative, and motivated students. Working individually and in small groups, students conduct research, provide recommendations, and make a final presentation to community leaders. It is a stimulating program in a real world setting that fosters intellectual development, communication skills, and cooperative problem solving.  Each year, we develop projects that are real world issues to challenge the students.  The below projects reflect the programs from the past five years.

YSP 2015 - "The Homestead Advantage 2025"

YSP 2014 - "Food for Thought: Greening our Schools"

YSP 2013 - “Lifeboat Central: A Climate-Disaster Action Plan Coming to a High School near You”

YSP 2012 - "School CAPS"

YSP 2011 - "Branding the Adirondacks"

This year’s Young Scholars were challenged to address how the park should market itself to young entrepreneurs.  They needed to identify where the pockets of opportunity are to create meaningful careers while capitalizing on the lifestyle of the Adirondacks.  Some questions they addressed included:

  • What are the constraints that exist and are they real or perceived?
  • What are the strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats facing the small towns in the Adirondack park?
  • How does the Adirondack Park build a “brand” that supports economic growth that fits the simplicity that makes it unique?
  • How does the park market itself to entrepreneurs from urban locations in hopes of attracting innovative, young talent?
  • How does the Adirondack Park begin to retain their youth in this area?
  • What is the Adirondack Business Brand?

Young Scholars students learned about marketing and entrepreneurship along with how to develop effective leadership, critical thinking and teamwork skills.  In addition to interacting with Clarkson University professors and guest lecturers, there was a field trip to the Adirondack Center in Saranac Lake, New York where students learned more about efforts to support small business communities and met entrepreneurs from the Adirondack Park.

YSP 2010 - "Clean Drinking Water: A Common Expectation in the United States, a Luxury in La Margarita, Ecuador"

Many people take for granted reliable access to clean drinking water; yet, according to the World Health Organization, more than 1 billion people use unsafe sources of drinking water. The problem is exacerbated by the global trend towards urbanization that marginalizes the rural poor, resulting in a cycle of ill‐health and poverty within which children are typically the first to suffer from the burden of disease.  Dirty water and poor hygiene are primary causes for both illness and mortality among many of the world's population.   To put it in perspective, poor water sanitation and a lack of safe drinking water take a greater human toll than war, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction combined. According to UNICEF, lack of access to these basic services kills nearly 4,000 children every day, and underlies many more of the 10 million child deaths annually. The Center for Strategic and International Studies notes that at any given time, nearly half the population of the developing world (3.4 Billion) suffers from waterborne disease associated with inadequate water and sanitation services. In its 2000 Millennium Declaration, the United Nations set eight goals for development, called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These goals set an ambitious agenda for improving the human living conditions and include, among other resolutions, the resolution to halve, by the year 2015, the portion of people who do not have access to safe drinking water.

Obtaining sustainable clean drinking water in the developing world is a social, environmental and engineering challenge. Sustainable projects must consider social, energy, environmental, and economic aspects. Without consideration of these factors in the context of the population to be served, the long‐term success of any drinking water system will be unlikely. Unfortunately, there are many examples of systems installed in developing communities that were unsuccessful simply because they were socially unacceptable, cost prohibitive to own and maintain, and/or difficult to repair with locally available materials. Successful systems will use readily‐available local materials, be affordable to own and operate, simple to install and maintain, and reliable. Ideally, they will operate at a cost benefit to the users.

This summer's Young Scholars were challenged to construct preliminary designs for provision of clean drinking water to the community of La Margarita, Ecuador. La Margarita, a community of approximately 350 residents, with many of the challenges associated with lack of adequate water and sanitary services. The residents consume water from the nearby polluted Los Tintos River with little or no treatment.  Living in homes without plumbing, the most common pollutant in the River is human waste.  In a recent public health survey, residents of La Margarita commonly reported experiencing illnesses such as headaches, stomach cramping, and diarrhea 10 or more times per month, with children most frequently suffering.