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The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a National Network for Environmental Management Studies fellowship to Kristen Tull ’06 (Sicklerville, N.J.), a double major in A.B. engineering and international affairs, to conduct graduate-level research on storm water practices and policies in the Northeast this summer.

According to the EPA, Tull’s qualifications and applications surpassed those of graduate students who applied for the fellowship, which was awarded to just 12 percent of applicants.

In addition, Tull will present her research on a method to remove arsenic from drinking water at the American Water Works Association’s 124th annual national conference June 12-16 in San Francisco.

She is the latest in a list of recent Lafayette recipients of prestigious national and international scholarships and fellowships for undergraduate and post-graduate study. For information on applying for scholarships and fellowships, contact Julia A. Goldberg, assistant dean of studies, at (610) 330-5521. See also the latest edition of Aristeia, which showcases the achievements and reflections of some of the outstanding current and recent Lafayette students who represent the growing number of students at the College pursuing both academic excellence and engagement with civic life and social justice.

Working from the EPA Region III Water Protection Division’s Philadelphia office, Tull will travel in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington D.C. to compile an exhaustive list of storm water practices. She will prepare a report that includes the list and suggestions to help improve practices and promote sustainability. She also will work with EPA personnel to develop an education and outreach program that encourages people to take an active role in promoting sustainable practices for storm water management.

Storm water runoff is the second leading cause of stream impairment in Region III, and the fellowship is aimed at reducing the harmful effects of polluted runoff into streams and rivers.

Tull spend the spring semester in Lafayette’s new study abroad program in Bremen, Germany. In her German Culture and Civilization course taught by Rado Pribic, Williams Professor of Languages and head of Lafayette’s international affairs and East European studies programs, Tull and her classmates traveled every other weekend to cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Vienna, and Amsterdam. Her other courses were 20th Century European Dictatorships, International Law, Democratic Governance, German Language, and General Biochemical Engineering.

Lafayette has been instrumental in preparing Tull for winning the EPA fellowship, she says.

“Although I am both excited and nervous about this project, I feel as though I am very well prepared to not only handle this project, but live up to the expectations of a graduate student who would otherwise be assigned to it,” she says. “Most of my confidence in my preparedness is the high level of interest that I have for the project. I aspire to work in the field of public policy concerning the environment after graduate school and working for the EPA is an ideal career for me. However, another large component of my preparedness can be attributed to my Lafayette experience.

“I have taken advantage of my Lafayette experience and the many incredible opportunities that Lafayette makes available to students. Not only have I strived to excel in the classroom, but I have partaken in research with my peers, EXCEL [Scholars] research with esteemed faculty, and involved myself in extracurricular activities.”

Two instrumental experiences that helped qualify Tull for the project, she says, were an EXCEL research collaboration with Arthur Kney, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, which led to her upcoming presentation at the American Water Works Association conference, and EXCEL work with Sharon Jones, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering.

The work built on the findings of four Lafayette students and two professors who spent six weeks in Uganda last summer, examining issues related to the wetlands surrounding Lake Victoria with their peers at Makerere University in Kampala, as part of a program funded by the National Science Foundation.

“Both Dr. Kney and Dr. Jones were extremely patient and great mentors in that they afforded me the opportunity to refine my research skills, problem-solving skills, writing skills, and advance my ability to think independently,” says Tull. “They allowed me to be independent and try and figure things out on my own, which is what one must do in the real world. I am very grateful for the role they have played in my successes and their contributions in helping me to earn this fellowship.

Tull founded Lafayette’s Society of Environmental Scientists and Engineers and was president of the club before studying in Germany. The group won a research competition hosted May 3-5 by the PA-American Water Works Association in Valley Forge, Pa., and finished second in the 2005 WERC International Environmental Engineering Design Contest held April 3-7 at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, N.M.

In the spring of her sophomore year, Tull worked in a multidisciplinary Lafayette student team that had its research presented at the 18th annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research. The group developed a cost-effective treatment technology to decrease the concentration of perchlorate in water, which has been linked to health problems concerning hormone production.

“This undoubtedly helped to prepare me for the work I will be doing this summer because it is along the same line of work,” she says. “Lafayette has endless opportunities for undergraduate students that prepare them for so many amazing opportunities and for the real world: the EXCEL scholars program, other research opportunities, and extracurricular activities are only a few of them. Furthermore, the professors at Lafayette are remarkable and very dedicated; they teach at Lafayette not because it’s their job, but because it is what they love to do and that makes all the difference.”

Tull also has taken advantage of opportunities in the international affairs program. Outside the classroom, she has served as president of International Affairs Club and participated in the annual European Union Simulation sponsored by the European American Institute.

“Generally speaking, my experiences related to international affairs have helped me to refine my social science skills and understand so many things outside the realm of engineering,” she says. “Through my experiences in international affairs, I have proven that I am not only capable of solving technical problems, but also social problems, which is a necessary skill for this summer’s project.”

“Overall, both of my majors and my experiences at Lafayette are shaping me into a very well rounded individual, which is very important in the realm of public policy,” she adds. “I am confident that Lafayette has succeeded in preparing me for my future endeavors and I am grateful for that.”

Tull also has served as vice president of the Leonardo Society for students majoring in A.B. engineering, competed in club soccer, and given tours for the admissions office.

Categorized in: Academic News