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Nathan Tregger ’03 (Niantic, Conn.), a civil and environmental engineering major, is studying non-point source pollution in the Bushkill Creek and local wetlands as an EXCEL Scholar this year with Arthur D. Kney, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.

The junior is among 34 Lafayette students who have earned the distinction of being invited to make presentations on their scholarly research at the 16th annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) April 25-27.

According to Kney, the purpose of the project is to monitor the pollution, develop a set of contaminants, and design simple processes for cleaning it up. “It’s coming along fine,” the professor says.

In examining wetlands, he and Tregger are focusing on several areas in Easton: a residential development, the Palmer Park Mall, a drain off Route 22, and lower Hackett Park near 25th Street. In addition, they set up monitoring equipment along the Bushkill Creek.

“My EXCEL project started out as a study of non-point source pollution from runoff during storms,” says Tregger, describing it as contamination whose source either can’t be determined or that comes from numerous sources that can’t be traced. “For example, consider pollution such as exhaust from cars in a parking lot. We know the pollution comes from the cars, but to trace each separate pollutant to each car is impossible.”

Tregger is writing a preliminary paper on the project and will likely make a presentation at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in April. He says EXCEL work has greatly improved his research and documenting skills, which should be helpful in graduate school.

“Also, I have learned much about water quality and wetlands, which is an important part of the civil engineering field,” adds the student, who says Kney as a great professor with whom to work. “He keeps me busy, but at the same time, he respects my other time commitments.”

“EXCEL provides research opportunities that are not available in most undergraduate programs,” he says. “Therefore, the Lafayette students have an advantage over other students entering graduate programs or even the work force.”

Kney agrees that “the research aspects are something he won’t get in a straight academic environment.” Attending the undergraduate research conference will be an “invaluable” experience, he adds.

Tregger has performed as a violin soloist with the orchestra.


A National Leader in Undergraduate Research. Nathan Tregger ’03 presented his collaborative research with Arthur Kney, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, at the Pennsylvania Water Environment Association’s conference.

Categorized in: Academic News, Student Profiles, Students