Gk-12 Fellow (Partnered with Wendy Wilson, Start)
I received my B.A. in Biology from Mercyhurst College, now Mercyhurst University, in May 2011. I completed my undergraduate research on the effects of temperature on algae production in mixed cultures and varied fertility, and a preliminary study for manufacturing axenic algal cultures. Upon graduating Mercyhurst, I joined Dr. Dwyer’s environmental microbiology lab and began exploring bacteria and viruses, a new realm of study for me. My M.S. project focuses on biosolids, the organic material and microorganisms remaining after sewage treatment by a waste water treatment plant, and their application to local agricultural fields as fertilizer. I am assessing the role that retention time and soil depth have on the survival of microorganisms in biosolid-amended soil. This will help us better understand the transport of microorganisms from a biosolid application site to the main drainage tile. My hopes are that this research project can help farmers manage the application of biosolids in a manner that will offer potentially ‘cleaner’ fertilizer options. I am thrilled to be part of the GK-12 program, because it presents me with the opportunity to interest high school students in scientific studies, by encouraging them to ask and answer their own question using the scientific method.