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2017 SURF presentations mark the culmination of summer research for two Purdue EEE undergraduates

Kyla Prendergast presenting at 2017 SURF program
Kyla Prendergast presents her research findings during the 2017 SURF program symposium. She is one of two EEE undergraduates who participated in the program.
Ben Stryker presenting at 2017 SURF program
Ben Stryker presents his research findings on lead removal from water during the 2017 SURF program symposium.
163 undergraduate students from 26 institutions participated in Purdue’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program, an 11 week summer program designed to expose students to the opportunities available to improve life for individuals and society through research.
Two Environmental and Ecological Engineering undergraduate students, Kyla Prendergast and Ben Stryker, participated in SURF and presented their research at the final event.
 
Prendergast spent her summer in Michigan City, IN studying the filtration potential of invasive quagga mussels in Lake Michigan. This type of mussel are filter feeders that dramatically alter the clarity and biological/chemical characteristics of the water column (the area from the surface of the lake to the bottom sediments). Prendergast’s research provides additional insight and enables future studies on the filtering capacity based on turbulence characteristics throughout the water column in the Great Lakes.
 
Stryker focused his research on determining the effectiveness of multi-wall carbon nanotube membranes at removing lead from water. This recently-developed advance filtration technique utilizes both nanotechnology and electrochemical filtration, and with additional process optimizations, the hope is to design a better system to be used in a home application.
 
Reflecting on his time with the program Stryker mentioned, “SURF has provided me with excellent opportunities to learn how to excel in the lab environment, network with peers, and hear about all sorts of interesting projects going on at Purdue.”
 
This year’s participating students completed their research under the guidance of 155 graduate students and post docs, and 136 professors from 22 Schools/Departments in 4 Colleges at Purdue.
 
Interested undergraduates enrolled at any U.S. college and university must apply and be selected to participate. Once chosen, students will be matched with a faculty member and graduate student mentor who will instruct the participant in best-practices for research on the forefront of science, technology, and engineering.
 
To learn more about SURF, visit: engineering.purdue.edu/Engr/Research/SURF