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An interest in hydrology and environmental engineering has led Ting Fong (May) Chui ’03 of Hong Kong, China to research methods to clean up ground water contamination. Chui is assisting David Brandes, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, for her EXCEL work this summer.

Says Brandes, “We’re researching a new way of doing remediation of contaminated aquifers.” Two of the most common groundwater contaminants in the U.S. are the chlorinated solvents trichloroethene (TCE) and tetrachloroethene (PCE), neither of which responds well to standard remediation methods. In conjunction with other researchers, notably at Clemson University, Brandes and Chui are conducting experiments to study a technique to decontaminate groundwater using cosolvents, in particular by flushing contaminated aquifers using an alcohol solution. As part of the project, Chui and Brandes will also conduct field work at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware allowing Chui further hands-on experience.

For Chui, who volunteered at the Mai Po Marshes Nature Reserves in Hong Kong before enrolling at Lafayette, the EXCEL work is an exciting chance to explore a field she hopes to pursue as a career.

“I enjoy my EXCEL work very much,” says Chui, who is majoring in civil engineering with a minor in environmental science. “I view it as a great opportunity to learn. EXCEL is a dream. As I plan to continue my studies in graduate school, I’m sure this work is the best preparation.”

Brandes concurs. “May is an exceptionally bright student with a great attitude. On this project, she’s learning skills that will serve her well in graduate school or the environmental industry.”

Chui is also pleased to work with a mentor and do practical applications of her studies. “Professor Brandes is very understanding and helpful,” she says. “I find he is an excellent professor to work with, providing guidance and at the same time allowing me to explore the research on my own.”

In addition to strong academics, Chui appreciates the camaraderie at Lafayette. “I enjoyed my first year at Lafayette, especially the friendly environment, which is a treasure for people like me who come from the other side of the globe. Lafayette is now my second home, and I’m very glad that I’m given such a good opportunity to work on research and develop my knowledge and potential my first year here,” she says.

Chui is an international peer advisor and secretary of the Asian Cultural Association. She is also a member of the Association for Women Engineers and American Society for Civil Engineer and plays intramural sports including badminton, basketball, and volleyball.

Categorized in: Academic News