Student’s research published in national newsletter

Libby Bullinger, Copy editor

This  past  week,  Mercyhurst  announced  a  fantastic  achievement for  an  undergraduate  student.  Junior  environmental  science  major and geology minor Erin Smith was recently  awarded  recognition  by the Geological Society of  America. Smith’s  work  was  specifically highlighted  in  the  most  recent  issue  of   the  Geology  and  Health Division Newsletter.

 This newsletter is a division of  the greater Geological  Society  of   America  and  is concerned  with  “the  intersection of   geological  conditions,  whether natural or anthropogenic in origin, with health. The  Greater  Geological  Society of America’s mission is to “advance geoscience research and discovery,  service  to  society,  stewardship  of   Earth,  and  the  geosciences profession.” As part of  this, they often highlight work done by students  of   various  levels  from around the country.

For  this  most  recent  issue  of the  Geology  and  Health  Division Newsletter,  Smith  was  chosen  as the  focus  of   the  newsletter’s  Student  Research  Spotlight  for  her work in mitigation of  water-borne diseases.For  Smith’s  research,  she chose to focus on the use of  ceramic water filters, which have been proven to remove dangerous bacteria such as coliform and E. coli at high percentage rates. These ceramic filter in  particular  rely  on  the  principle of  gravity as the only source of  energy to filter the water, making the filtration  system  simple  yet  effective.  Smith  specifically  notes  that these  filters  are  dependable  and easily   accessible,   with   UNICEF  sources   estimating   the   cost   at  around twenty dollars per filter.

 For  students  like  Smith,  having their  research  featured  in  prominent publications such as those affiliated with the Geological Society of  America is a great boost in their education and future careers, and it shows  the  value  of   a  Mercyhurst education.

Nick  Lang,  Ph.D., chair  of the geology department at Mercyhurst, mentions that Smith is a “once-in-a-decade  type  of   student,”  citing her  drive  and  confidence  as  key motivators  for  her  work  in  the field. Lang also mentioned that Smith has  a  wide  variety  of   skills  across the academic spectrum, advancing her  success  in  research  and  allowing her to get to the point of  being featured  in  such  a  highly  recognized publication.

Smith’s  work  would  not  have been possible without the resources and faculty that make up the environmental science department at Mercyhurst.  Students  majoring  in this area of  study are trained to be aware  of   the  natural  environment they  live  in  to  address  a  number of  environmental issues   across  the field both during their time on campus and post-graduation in the job market.

Like many other departments on campus, the environmental science department  encourages  hands-on learning,  helps  their  students  get off   campus  and  go  into  the  Erie community  to  work  in  their  field and  work  closely  with  other  majors  on  campus,  such  as  biology and  geology,  in  order  to  strengthen  their  skills  and  knowledge  and create an educational plan that fits their needs as students.

If you see Erin  Smith  around campus, be sure to congratulate her for  her  success! Her work is a huge honor to  Mercyhurst,  as well as a huge asset to the research community!


Debbie Morton