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2024 EWC Graduate Research Symposium brings together more than 120 researchers, scholars

About 120 students, faculty and guests gathered in Duke Energy Hall at Hunt Library to discuss pressing issues and innovative research at the 2024 Environmental, Water Resources, and Coastal Engineering (EWC) Graduate Research Symposium on March 8. 

The annual, student-organized symposium highlights the current research conducted by CCEE’s EWC group, providing an opportunity for graduate students to gain experience in preparing and delivering 30 posters and 15 oral presentations of their research. 

Paola Passalacqua

This year’s keynote speaker was Paola Passalacqua, professor of environmental and water resources engineering in the Maseeh Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Passalacqua discussed the complex dynamics of low-gradient landscapes and analyzing landscapes across scales, focusing on coastal areas.

Nadia Sheppard

In the research presentation competition, Nadia Sheppard won first place for “PFAS concentration and accumulation history in Jordan Lake Sediments,” and Elias Zauscher won second place for “PipeNetGen: Applying Open Access Data to Create Synthetic Water Distribution Networks.” Third place went to Vie Villafuerte for “Does the disposal of PFAS-containing special wastes impact leachate PFAS concentrations?” 

In the oral presentation competition, there was a tie for first place: Temi Ibitoye with “Assessing SARS-CoV-2 Surveillance Tools: A Comparative Study of RT-ddPCR, Short Read Sequencing, and Long Read Sequencing in Wastewater,” and Kichul Bae with “What if winning the lottery increases the chance of being struck by lightning?” Thomas Thelen won the People’s Choice award for his presentation “Community-engaged Coastal Flood Modeling To Evaluate Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategies.”

Elias Zauscher

The symposium was organized by a student committee headed by Ph.D. student Stefanie Starr and advised by CCEE faculty Fernando Garcia-Mendez, Katherine Anarde, Francis de los Reyes, and Jacelyn Rice-Boayue. The student-led subcommittees were chaired by Sarah Teagle, Nadia Sheppard, Savanna Smith, Ryan McCune, and Nathen Silsby.

“We had a great turnout of poster and oral presentations,” Starr said. “This is a fantastic opportunity for current students to showcase their research to peers, faculty, industry professionals, and prospective students, who are typically invited to this event. It also provides a unique opportunity for networking.”

For more information on the event, including student advisors, research, posters and oral talks, check out this year’s event program.

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