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Elias Zauscher receives Spring 2023 Richard L Blanton Outstanding Capstone Award

Elias Zauscher

Recent CCEE grad Elias Zauscher (BSENE 2023) was selected for the Spring 2023 Richard L. Blanton Outstanding Capstone Award from NC State’s University Honors Program (UHP). This award recognizes exceptional work by UHP students and encourages the highest levels of undergraduate scholarship and research at NC State. The award honors Richard L. Blanton, who served as the first permanent director of the University Honors Program.

Zauscher worked with Dr. Emily Berglund to study water use in Australian homes, using an Agent Based Model to simulate water trading between the homes to find the effect that hybrid water sources (rain water, gray water, bore water) have on municipal water and groundwater. The project is titled “Modeling Water Use Changes in a Hybrid Water System with Micro-Trading in Perth, Australia.”

“His research demonstrates that micro-trading can expand on the benefits that hybrid water systems can offer,” Berglund said. “In a micro-trading community where most participants are prosumers (60-80%), water demands are reduced to conserve centralized water supply, groundwater levels are maintained, and energy use decreased. This research demonstrates the validity of water micro-trading as a novel economic strategy in a real-world environment.”

Berglund said Zauscher first approached her to discuss research opportunities after he was one of the top students in her class “Entrepreneurship for Smart Sustainable Infrastructure,” and that he showed “impressive initiative” to propose, fund and conduct the research.

“Throughout his research activities, Elias demonstrated excellent scholarship,” Berglund said. “He surveyed literature related to decentralized technologies for water systems to develop ideas for future research, and we discussed these papers each week at our individual meetings. He read papers critically and developed an understanding of important research questions and topics. I have been continuously impressed by the research that Elias conducts. He has excellent technical skills in engineering systems and computer programming; at the same time, he demonstrates critical thinking and self-directed initiative.”

Zauscher was recently recognized for his commitment to environmental sustainability with the 2023 CCEE Outstanding Senior Award for Citizenship and Service. Zauscher plans on continuing his education at CCEE, pursuing a Ph.D. in civil engineering with a concentration in computing and systems and a special focus on water resources management. He will continue to do research under Berglund in her Sociotechnical Systems Analysis Laboratory.