December 14, 2007

Taking Research to the Capitol

Ryan Clark ’08 and Hugo Sindelar ’08 present research in Harrisburg

In October, Ryan Clark ’08 (Sellersville, Pa.), who is pursuing an A.B. in international studies and engineering and a B.S. in civil engineering, and Hugo Sindelar ’08 (Houston, Texas), a civil engineering major, traveled to Harrisburg to present their research at the Undergraduate Research Conference at the state capitol building.

The conference highlighted undergraduate research in Pennsylvania and gave Clark and Sindelar the opportunity to discuss their work with various state representatives. They also met one-on-one with Representative Robert Freeman to personally make him aware of the research that is being completed in his voting area. Freeman also gave them a tour of the capitol building.

Clark and Sidelar’s poster presentation was on Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) Profiling. This is a microbial source tracking method that aims to identify potential bacterial pollution in streams and waterways. This method will eventually allow researchers to collect fecal coliforms and determine what type of fecal matter is present in the water and its probability of occurrence.

“I think this is an interesting topic because it has the possibility to help to locate sources of pollution in local waterways, which hopefully will allow us to clean-up these sources and improve the health of local ecosystems,” says Sindelar.

Clark and Sindelar became interested in the project after studying the water of the Bushkill Creek during their sophomore year. They worked with Arthur Kney, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Metin Duran, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Villanova University. They also worked with and civil and environmental engineering major David Kendall ’08 (Lebanon, Pa.).

Clark and Sindelar are both involved with Engineers Without Borders. Sindelar is also a member of the Society of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (SEES).

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