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!