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21st Annual EWC Symposium provides connection and camaraderie

The 2021 Environmental, Water Resources, and Coastal Engineering (EWC) Virtual Symposium was held on February 26th.  The popular annual event has several goals: to showcase the recent research by students within the EWC group; to engage with local alumni and the local engineering community, whose members serve as judges; and to invite prospective students to learn more about our CCEE department.  Last year, the symposium was one of the last in-person events before COVID-19 restrictions went into full effect.  This year, the symposium was held virtually.

The symposium was held on a virtual meeting space called Gather with breakout sessions on Zoom. The event was planned and executed by a student committee headed by PhD student Morgan DiCarlo. Planning for this event has always been a big commitment, and this year was no exception. It looked different from past, in-person events.

“We chose the fun, interactive platform Gather to preserve the camaraderie of the traditional EWC Symposium, which is an attractive element of our department to prospective students. Moving the EWC Symposium online would not have been possible without a team effort from my fellow graduate students, who showed great dedication to making this event happen. Together, everyone adapted quickly to new presentation guidelines, and even created our own virtual world! The event was a big success.”       Morgan DiCarlo, PhD student

At EWC Symposia in previous years, students stood by their research posters and were available to present and answer questions to judges and peers. For this year’s symposium, 32 students recorded presentations in advance and shared them on YouTube.

“One of the outcomes of the format this year was that the presentations were organized by discipline and we could easily match judges with their area of interest or expertise. Also, the fact that the judges could watch ahead and submit their scores online, actually made that part much simpler and streamlined.”     Associate Professor Dr. Dan Obenour

Student presenters were able to respond to questions from students or judges during the morning sessions. Then, in a live afternoon session, seven finalists shared brief summaries of their research projects, as a way to show the breadth of research done by the EWC group.

This year, instead of a keynote speaker, the event included an Industry and Alumni panel which included  Jason Patskoski, PE, (MSCE 2012, PhD 2014); Lauren Wellborn, PE (BSENE 2006, MSENE 2009) and William Eleazer, PD (BSENE, MSENE).

The department is grateful for the panelists’ time, as well as the contributions of our sponsors and judges. Find out more in this booklet, which also lists all the faculty advisors from the EWC group who helped organize the event, as well as the student committee members.

Congratulations go to the four finalists who received certificates and cash prizes.

1st Place  Johnathan Woodruff, Subgrid corrections in finite-element models of storm-driven coastal flooding

2nd Place  Shreya Sabu, Leak detection in water distribution systems using artificial intelligence

3rd Place  Elvin Hossen, Electrically assisted Removal of Organic Ions using Porous Carbon-based Materials

Honorable Mention  Elizabeth Ramsey, A Smart Water Grid for Micro-Trading Rainwater: Hydraulic Feasibility Analysis

Following are links to the seven finalist presentations, and within each of these links, you can also find all the original presentations.

Air Pollution Parsons
Energy & Electro Chemical Hossen
Modeling & Systems Ramsey
Water Resources Sabu
WaSH Floess
Coastal Eng. Woodruff
Env. Process Eng. Mattingly


The Gather platform was a great way to socialize and interact with colleagues. The virtual event was highly successful, but of course, we hope to gather in person for next year’s EWC Symposium.