Water Related Research Takes Top Prizes at the 2012 “Grad Blitz”
Each year, the Institute of the Environment holds an environmentrelated research event on campus offering opportunities for collaboration across departments, and for students to present their research findings to other students, faculty, and university administrators. This year the list of students who presented research on a wide range of topics included over fifteen students engaged in water-related research. Participants presented their research in one of two ways: a poster presentation or a five-minute talk, including no more than three slides. The event took place on November 8th at the Tucson Marriott University Park. Students who presented water-related research were well represented in both the poster session and rapid-fire talks.
Stefan Walston won first prize and Best Science and Society Linkage prize for his talk titled, “Does Increasing Solids Retention Time in the Wastewater Treatment Process Affect the Persistence of Antibiotic Resistant Genes?”. Zulia Mayari Sanchez Mejia won first prize for her poster presenting research on the role of soil moisture and vegetation in semi-arid ecosystems. Other prizes taken by water-related work included the Audience Choice Poster and the Best Interdisciplinary Talk. Natalie Brassill’s winning poster presented her research on the assessment of Escherichia coli as an indicator of microbial quality of irrigation waters used for produce. Her methods included the installation of twelve underwater cameras, equipped with infrared light to record both day and night activity. America Lutz Ley’s interdisciplinary talk on the social distribution of water in the Sonora River Basin detailed her investigation of water users in arid northwest Mexico. The highly unequal distribution found has important implications for water policy in the region, as well as for environmental and social justice issues due to severe water shortages.