Awards given for undergraduate research in sustainability and the environment

April 28, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- In a ceremony on Earth Day, April 22, at the Sustainability Experience Center on Penn State's University Park campus, three undergraduate students received the inaugural Award for Undergraduate Research in Sustainability and the Environment.

Mark Staub, a student in the energy and sustainability policy program in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, received the first place award of $2,000 for his project on the Sensible Accounting to Value (Save) Act. This bipartisan piece of legislation was presented in 2011 to improve mortgage underwriting and energy efficiency. Using traditional research, a survey and interviews, Staub’s paper analyzed the perceived benefits, impacts and current status of the act.

Two students in the architecture program in the College of Arts and Architecture, each received the second place award of $1,000 for projects focusing on sustainable education and research. Emily Liuzza was awarded for her architectural rendering of The Research and Visitor Center at ALCOSAN (Allegheny County Sanitary Authority), a project to create an environmentally friendly research and visitor facility for a wastewater treatment facility in the Pittsburgh area. Ryan Andrew David was recognized for his YES! Project (Youth Education in Sustainability), an immersive educational experience for students in grades 3 to 5, to teach underlying philosophies of sustainability.

The submissions, reviewed by a committee of librarians and teaching faculty, were judged on research strategy and use of technical criteria. Planned as a yearly event, the award, which is open to Penn State students at all campus locations, including the World Campus, is a partnership among the University Libraries, Cengage Learning and Penn State’s Sustainability Institute.

Lisa German, associate dean for Collections Information and Access Services, University Libraries, who presented the awards, noted, “We hope this award will make students more aware of the rich resources in the Libraries and our Research Guide on Sustainability.”

“This year’s winners produced impressive scholarly and creative work,” added Susannah Barsom, director of academic programs at the Sustainability Institute. “Penn State students work on sustainability projects every semester, and we are delighted that we can now offer a significant award for the best of these efforts.”

See the Award for Undergraduate Research in Sustainability and the Environment for more information or call Public Relations and Marketing at 814-863-4240, during normal business hours. For more information on sustainability at Penn State, visit

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Last Updated September 20, 2019