UVM Undergrads Earn First Environmental Engineering Scholarships
Release Date: 01-07-2005
Four University of Vermont students majoring in civil and environmental engineering will split $32,000 for summer research in environmental engineering as part of the newly established Richard Barrett Scholarships. Domenico Grasso, dean of the College, and members of the Barrett Foundation made the announcement this week.
Three juniors and a sophomore will complete 2005 internships under the direction of civil and environmental engineering assistant professors William (Cully) Hession, Donna Rizzo, Mandar DeWoolkar, and Adel Sadek:
• Sophomore Alaina Dickason of Starksboro, Vt. was chosen for her project, "Accuracy of Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) Data." Her research will involve testing the usefulness of LIDAR, a new high-resolution laser mapping technique, for use in river research.
• Jennifer Gagnon, from Newington, Conn., submitted the proposal, "Combining ANNs with Froude Number and Geo-Hydraulic Diversity Index to Assess Linkages Between Stream Geomorphic Condition and In-stream Habitat." This research will use sophisticated computational techniques to help researchers understand the importance that physical characteristics of streams play in driving biological conditions.
• Brendan Kennedy, of Evanston, Ill., will study "Accurately Quantifying Soil Moisture Through Video Image Processing." This research’s focus is an important component in the overall understanding and measurement of soil moisture.
• Tracy Owen, of Kingsport, Tenn., was chosen to pursue "The Effects of Large Woody Debris on Channel Dimensions: A Flume Experiment." Her research will use a new, six-meter experimental stream in the civil and environmental engineering hydraulics laboratory to study the impacts of downed trees on stream channel size and shape.
“The tools and skills needed by today’s engineers to solve complex environmental problems include systems thinking, information technology, inquiry-based or research-based learning and the often overlooked skills of teamwork, communication and leadership,” said Hession. “The Barrett Foundation scholarships will provide internships for these students to work closely with faculty to conduct original research and pass on these important skills to these students.” Each of the winning proposals incorporated a broad range of these skills; and provided a high degree of logic and well-designed experiments to test existing physical principles, theories and concepts to the solution of real-world problems, according to Hession.
That’s exactly what the Richard Barrett family of Boulder, Col. had in mind when it created this internship to aid educational and environmental causes. The foundation launched the internship with $47,000 in this pilot year with the hope that “the fund will grow with donations from other friends and alumni of UVM civil and environmental engineering, and that in coming years we’ll be able to offer internships to more students,” said Barrett. Richard, his wife, Elaine Barrett; daughter, Anne Barrett Johnston; and her husband, Darren Johnston, established the private family foundation in 1987. Richard (class of 1966) was an outstanding student who earned his master of science in mechanical engineering from UVM.
“My summer intern experience at UVM was invaluable in preparing me for a rigorous career as an engineer, while enhancing my resume for graduate school,” Barrett recalled. “I want more students to have that advantage.” Barrett went on to found Leasetec Corporation, which leased high-tech. equipment to major corporations. The company operated in 20 countries when he sold it to KeyCorp in 1997.
“We are grateful for the continued generosity of Richard Barrett, his family and friends of the Barrett Foundation, for his commitment to his alma mater and his perceptive foresight concerning the key role environmental engineers will play in the coming years,” said Grasso, dean of the college.