A diverse team of judges has recognized an interdisciplinary team of graduate students as the grand prize winner of $10,000 in the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA) at Penn State. Roland Cusick, civil and environmental engineering; Marta Hatzell, civil and environmental engineering; Michael Parks, sociology; and Emily Smith-Greenaway, sociology; developed a solution titled “Sustainable Improvement of Drinking-water and Sanitation in African Slums using Microbial Electrochemical Technologies and Attention to Self-efficacy within Local Communities.” The faculty adviser for the team was Bruce Logan, Evan Pugh Chair of Environmental Engineering.
The second place team of Yuexiao Shen, chemical engineering; Patrick Saboe, chemical engineering; Bryan Ferlez, biochemistry, microbiology, and molecular biology; Mustafa Erbakan, bioengineering; and Manuel Escotet will be awarded $2,500 for their entry: “Solar Energy Based Biomimetic Water Desalination and Purification.”
This Dow SISCA contest recognizes and rewards students and universities for their innovation and research of sustainable solutions to the world's most pressing social, economic and environmental problems.The program is designed to promote forward thinking in social and environmental responsibility, and acknowledges the energy, commitment and enthusiasm of students and their professors who support their innovations.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the entries we received for the Dow SISCA challenge,” said David Riley, executive director of the Center for Sustainability, “All of the teams displayed a strong grasp of holistic solutions to real sustainability challenges. The skills and creativity they displayed in their entries are exactly the types of competencies we need to be cultivating among our students.”
In addition, the winning teams will have the opportunity to network with global sustainability thought leaders and peers, join a network of SISCA alumni, and showcase their work with various external sustainability media.
All five finalist teams will also be offered additional venues to share their outstanding work with broader audiences in the coming months, including the Spring Graduate Research Exhibition.
Penn State will be participating in the DOW SISCA Challenge in 2013. A call for entries will be announced on Feb. 1, 2013.