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Environmental Health student wins national research competition

Summer Corsolini, an environmental health major, was selected as a 2019 Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs (AEHAP) Student Research Competition winner.

AEHAP sponsors the Student Research Competition to highlight important environmental health research being conducted by students enrolled in National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC) accredited environmental health degree programs. Corsolini will receive a $1,000 cash award and the full sponsorship to present her research work at the National Environmental Health Association’s (NEHA) Annual Education Conference taking place on July 9-12, 2019, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Student in white lab coat standing in research lab

Corsolini works in the research lab.

Corsolini has been working with Professor LC (Liangcheng) Yang on anaerobic digestion of organic wastes and utilization of biogas for two years since her sophomore year at Illinois State. The project she will present at the conference is “Online removal of volatile siloxanes in solid-state anaerobic digester biogas using a biofilter and an activated carbon filter.”

Below are her thoughts on research:

What interests you in doing research?
Research is a great way for me to challenge myself and do more than what my courses require. It’s fun to work on innovative technology and participate in conferences and research symposiums where I’m able to share what we have been working on. It’s also a great way to form connections with professors and be active within the department.

What have you learned in doing research?
Doing research has been a great way to grow professionally and prepare for a career. I have learned to work more independently, think analytically, and troubleshoot when complications arise, which will all be helpful skills in the future. I’ve also been able to work with various types of lab equipment that I would not have otherwise used in my college career.

How do your projects benefit environmental health?
Our projects work on improving waste management techniques. The biogas is a renewable energy source that we can use to generate heat and electricity. We also worked on filtering out siloxanes, an impurity in the biogas. The improved removal efficiency rates of the siloxanes would make using the biogas more productive. The project is directly applicable to environmental health because of its aim to aid in waste management and increase the use of renewable energy resources.

Corsolini was also recognized as the College of Applied Science and Technology College Outstanding Undergraduate Student Researcher in 2019.