Winners Announced!

The final results have come in for the student presentation judging. The following individuals have been awarded prizes for their outstanding research in the four themes of water research that were showcased in the symposium. The first place presenter in each theme will be awarded $500, the second place presenter $300.





Water use in Africa
Clean water

November 22, 2013
Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center
Michigan State University

Total global population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050 and global environmental changes are increasing in pace. Answers to the problems that have been created by our relationship with nature have traditionally been sought in the sciences, but the translation from science to policy does not always follow even from deep understanding of environmental problems. At the same time, the profound impact that humans have had on the environment stresses the importance of coupling human and natural systems research. Success will depend on the engagement of a new generation of scientists who can break disciplinary boundaries and collaborate with other scientists and stakeholders to forge solutions for current and future problems. The Michigan State University Environmental Science and Policy Program (ESPP) Student Research Symposium serves as a forum that brings together social and natural scientists to highlight interdisciplinary research, foster interactions with stakeholders and policymakers, and provide professional development opportunities for tomorrow's scientific community.

Download a copy of the program here.

Theme for 2013 Inaugural Event: Water for a Sustainable World

All organisms require water to survive, but humans are unique in our use of water for food, energy, manufacture, and recreation. The competing uses of water have given rise to problems across the globe regarding quantity, quality, access and supply to both humans and our environment. Our water crises have solutions that are scientific, political, and cultural, and require collaboration among many stakeholders with different skills, backgrounds, and responsibilities. The need to evaluate water issues as complex systems is increasingly expressed by policy entities, research funding sources, and the public. Water conflicts pose one of the greatest challenges for sustainability research. The overarching goals of the ESPP Student Research Symposium: Water for a Sustainable World are to: 1) facilitate effective interdisciplinary water research; 2) encourage interaction between policy-makers and researchers to promote science-based decision making; and, 3) foster professional development and collaboration for students in water disciplines.

Water use in Africa
Clean water

Interdisciplinary Research

Michigan State University scientists are at the forefront of water research. Because water touches so many areas, the researchers studying it come from disciplines ranging from engineering, chemistry, microbiology, fisheries, crop and soil sciences, molecular genetics, geology, medicine, zoology, sociology, anthropology, and political science to mention a few. This symposium will foster collaboration between scientists and students for more effective interdisciplinary water research.

Science and Policy

Effective water policies will serve as a bridge between cutting edge water research and science-based decision making. Michigan State University seeks to strengthen the interaction between researchers and policy makers. This symposium will serve as a platform to bring together policy makers and scientist to foster dialogue about the role of collaboration in solving the water problems of the 21st century and beyond.

Professional Development

Michigan State University recognizes that professional development is critical for students to succeed as researchers, policy makers, academicians, and industry leaders. This symposium will create connections, promote collaborative research, and hone presentation skills. Monetary awards will give additional incentives for students to come together to share research on the forefront of scientific inquiry. Additional opportunities for networking and career development will be provided in one or more special sessions during the symposium.

Keynote Speakers


Dr. Deborah L. Swackhamer

Dr. Deborah L. Swackhamer is a Professor of Science, Technology, and Public Policy in the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and Co-Director of the University's Water Resources Center at the University of Minnesota. She also is a Professor of Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health. She received a BA in Chemistry from Grinnell College, IA and a MS and PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Water Chemistry and Limnology & Oceanography, respectively. After two years post-doctoral research in Chemistry and Public & Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, she joined the Minnesota faculty in 1987. She studies the processes affecting the behavior of, and exposures to, toxic chemicals in the environment and works on policies to address these potential risks.

In 2012 Dr. Swackhamer completed a four-year term as Chair of the Science Advisory Board of the US Environmental Protection Agency, and currently is a member of the Science Advisory Board of the International Joint Commission of the US and Canada. She currently serves on the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences committee addressing Sustainability Linkages in the Federal Government. She is also a Governor appointee on the Minnesota Clean Water Council. She was President of the National Institutes of Water Resources in 2011-2012. Dr. Swackhamer is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the journal Environmental Science & Technology. She is a Fellow in the Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK. Dr. Swackhamer received the 2007 Harvey G. Rogers Award from the Minnesota Public Health Association. In 2009 she received the prestigious Founders Award from the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry for lifetime achievement in environmental sciences. She was the 2010 recipient of the University of Minnesota's Ada Comstock Award.


Dr. Benito J. Mariñas

Benito J. Mariñas holds a B.S. degree (Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain 1982) in civil engineering, and M.S. (University of California at Berkeley 1985), Ph.D. (University of California at Berkeley 1989) degrees in sanitary and environmental engineering. He has been on the faculty of the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois since 1995 and has been an Arthur and Virginia Nauman Faculty Scholar since 1998. Prior to coming to the University of Illinois, Dr. Mariñas was a faculty member (1989-1995) at the School of Civil Engineering of Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.

Dr. Mariņas has research interests in various mechanistic aspects of chemical and ultraviolet light disinfection processes and membrane technologies for the particular application of controlling waterborne pathogens. He is currently a member of the Center for Zoonoses Research at the University of Illinois. He is also developing hybrid adsorption/membrane processes for the control of pesticides, taste-and-odor-causing compounds and other water contaminants, and working on research projects aimed at elucidating the mechanisms responsible for the formation of disinfection by-products of health concern in drinking water.


Time Event Location


Introductory Remarks - Dr. Volodymyr Tarabara, ESPP Associate Director Kellogg Center, Conference Room 104 A & B


Keynote Speaker - Dr. Deborah L. Swackhamer, Professor of Science, Technology, and Public Policy in the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and Co-Director of the University's Water Resources Center, University of Minnesota Kellogg Center, Conference Room 104 A & B
Networking coffee break Kellogg Center, Conference Room 104 A & B

Student Presentations: Water Quality and Health

  • "Sorption of Lincomycin by Biochar Produced from Different Feedstocks" by Chen-Hua Liu
  • "Metagenomic Analysis of Viral Communities Associated with Fresh Produce and Irrigation Water" by Samantha Wengert
  • "A Comparative Analysis of Detection Techniques for Salmonella in Surface Waters" by Mathew Flood
  • "Uptake of Antimicrobial Agent Triclocarban in Vegetable Crop Plants" by Khang Huynh
  • "Microbial Quality and Safety of Well Water in Rural Nicaragua as Determined by Low Cost Bacteria Test" by Patricia Weiss
  • "Examining the Causes of Diarrheal-Related Deaths in Africa in 2004 and 2008" by Saul Ddumba
  • "Ozonation Followed by Adsorption for the Removal of Atrazine" by Elaheh Esfahanian
  • "Identification of Aerobic Vinyl Chloride Degrades in Groundwater Microcosms by Combining Stable Isotope Probing and Illumnia Sequencing" by Fernanda Paes
Kellogg Center, Conference Room 104 A & B and Room 106

Panel Discussion on Opportunities in Interdisciplinary Water Research: Drs. Phanikumar Mantha (CES), Phoebe Zarnetske (CANR), Stephen Gasteyer (CSS), and David Hyndman (CNS). Jinhua Zhao (CSS), moderator


Kellogg Center, Conference Room 104 A & B
Professional Development Lunch for Graduate Students - Dean Karen Klomparens (MSU Graduate School) Kellogg Center, Centennial (ABC) Room


Student Presentations: Detection, Treatment, and Modeling Techologies

  • "How Scalable Are Flows Through Bioreactors" by Rohan Maddamsetti
  • "Anti-Adhesive Membrane Coating for Virus Recovery for Rapid Detection" by Hang Shi
  • "Water and Biohydrogen Production" by Hui Yang
  • "Mechanisms of Membrane-Based Separations of Oil-Water Emulsions" by Emily Tummons
  • "Improved Root Distribution Models Through a Novel Coupled Hydrogeophysical Approach" by Alexandria Kuhl
  • "A Numerical Study of the Efficient Microfiltration of Oil-In-Water Emulsions Using Porous Membranes" by Tohid Darvishzadeh
  • "Effectiveness of the AGIS Process on Fats, Oil, and Grease" by Younsuk Dong
  • "Effect of Anionic and Cationic Surfactants on Nanoparticle Aggregation" by Xiaohang Yu

Student Presentations: Freshwater Resources and Security

  • "A Water Sustainability Hazard for Michigan's Coastal Communities" by Zachary Curtis
  • "Stormwater Management Monitoring and Development on Michigan State's Campus" by Rebecca Bender
  • "Molecular Measurements from Sediments Cores in Lake St. Clair Linking Pollution and Watershed Management" by Yolanda Brooks
  • "Penotypic and Geotypic Diversity of Pseudomonas and Aeromonas of the Red Cedar River" by Karen Davidge
  • "The Speciation of Copper in Sediment and Water of Copper Mining-Impacted Lake: Role of Dissolved Organic Compounds for Controlling Copper Solubility of Lake" Chaiyanum Tangtong
  • "Phages Metagenome in Activated Sludge Samples" by Mariya Munir
  • "Human and Bovine Viruses and Bacteroides as Microbial Source Tracking Tools in Selected Great Lake Beaches" by Ziqiang Yin
  • "Chlorophyll Concentration Response to Zebra Mussel Invasion in the Great Lakes" by Shengpan Lin

Kellogg Center, Conference Room 104 A & B







Kellogg Center, Room 106

Networking coffee break Kellogg Center, Conference Room 104 A & B

Student Presentations: Sustainability, Policy, and Governance

  • "A Metagenomic Insight into Ballast Water Virome: First Step to Prevent The Introduction and Spread of Invasive Species in Ballast Water" by Yiseul Kim
  • "Reducing Lake Erie Algal Blooms: Agricultural Runoff Abatement Policies That Integrate Economic and Ecological Information" by Leah Harris
  • "Testing an Integrated Approach for Water Sustainability Assessment in Megacities" by Jillian Deines
  • "Predicting the Impacts of Climate Change on Agricultural Yields and Water Resources in the Maumee River Watershed" by Ryan Nagelkirk
  • "Modeling Regional Groundwater Implications of Biofuel Crop Production in the Great Lakes Region" by Austin Parish
  • "Transport and Retention of Phytophthora capisici Zoospores in Saturated Iron Oxide Coated-Sand and Uncoated-Sand" by Sangho Jeon
  • "Environmental Monitoring and Enforcement: Toward Proactive Fraud Detection" by Matt Gammans
  • "Determinants of Agricultural Landowners' Decision to Enroll in Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program in Saginaw Bay" by Felix Yeboah
  • "Threats to the Sustainability of Water Recreation in The Great Lakes" by Dwight Washington
  • "Social Learning and Irrigation Technology Adoption in Ogallala Aquifer Management: A Drift-Diffusion Approach" by Li Cheng
Kellogg Center, Conference Room 104 A & B and Room 106

Keynote Speech "Science and Technology Advances For Safe Global Water: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities" - Dr. Benito J. Mariñas, Professor, Ivan Racheff Professor of Environmental Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois

Concluding Remarks and Student Awards- Dr. Jinhua Zhao, ESPP Director

Kellogg Center, Conference Room 104 A & B