Students win cash awards for sustainability research

Three students -- Kelsey Czyzyk, Alexandra Sorce and Andrew Madl -- received awards for their research last week, as part of the second annual Award for Undergraduate Research on Sustainability and the Environment.

Kelsey Czyzyk, a graduating senior majoring in biological engineering in the natural resource engineering option, won first prize ($1,000) for her research on affordable greenhouses. Czyzyk is part of the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) program, where she is working on the Affordable Greenhouse venture. She spent last spring working on a plan to expand the venture into Sierra Leone, where she traveled with a group of HESE students in June. Her award-winning research measured the water savings of the affordable greenhouses compared with open-air farms. It was pivotal in the venture receiving a grant from USAID’s Securing Water for Food competition.

After graduation, Czyzyk will attend Colorado State University where she will pursue her masters in civil and environmental engineering, focusing on hydrology and water resource engineering.

Alexandra Sorce, a sophomore at Penn State Erie, the Behrend College, won one of two second prizes ($500). Sorce, who will be transferring to University Park in fall, is majoring in community and economic development, with minors in sustainability leadership and women’s studies. Her goal is to work with a non-profit organization or foundation upon graduation. Sorce is vice president and secretary of Greener Behrend, a student organization centered around implementing environmental friendliness and service on campus and around the Erie area.

Andrew Madl, a landscape architecture student in the Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, also won second prize. Madl’s interests lie in the visualization and figuration of site systems that promote performance and drive design through the implementation of digital technologies. His design is heavily influenced by the artwork of Salvador Dali. Over the past five years, Madl has held internships with Michael van Valkenburgh Associates and Landworks Studio. He has been awarded the 2014 Golumbic Scholarship from the Penn State College of Arts and Architecture and a Pennsylvania/Delaware ASLA Honor Award. Madl will attend the Harvard Graduate School of Design for graduate studies.

The award, offered each spring semester, is open to undergraduate students at all Penn State campuses, including Penn State World Campus. For more information, see


Last Updated June 26, 2015