2010 Sustainability Innovation Winners

Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge – 2010 Winners

Testing Technological and Programmatic Interventions for Providing Sustainable, Safe Drinking Water in Honduras and El Salvador
Georgia Kayser
Ph.D. Candidate
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

The sustainability grant will allow me to finish my dissertation research on hard and softpath solutions for improving the Millennium Development Goal for Water. I take an interdisciplinary approach and have partnered with local non-governmental organizations to study technological and programmatic options that might improve the safety and sustainability of drinking water supply over the long term. Specifically, research in Honduras compares the household health, economic and sustainability impacts of two drinking water technologies: a household filter and safe storage unit and a community-based drinking water supply system. The programmatic research, in El Salvador, studies a technical assistance model: the efficacy of "build-and-walk-away" drinking water supply versus "build-and-support-with-on-going technical assistance" water supply in small rural and peri-urban areas. I have finished the field research for both studies,and the DOW sustainability grant would greatly assist me in the data analysis, writing, publishing and presentation of this research to organizations that provide drinking water interventions in the developing world as well as participating communities.

Evaluation of a Novel Primary Prevention Technique for the Control of Urinary Schistosomiasis:
A Pilot Intervention in Adasawase, Ghana
Karen Claire Kosinski
Ph.D. Candidate, Environmental and Water Resources Engineering
School of Engineering

Schistosomiasis is one of thirteen neglected tropical diseases and affects over 207 million people worldwide, primarily children and adolescents living in the rural tropics. Long-term disease pathology can be severe, and although the disease is treatable, treatment does not confer immunity. Schistosomiasis is transmitted via skin contact with water that is contaminated with human waste. Data collected in 2008 indicate that in Adasawase, a rural town in Ghana, urinary schistosomiasis affected roughly 44% of girls and 61% of boys. Children contract schistosomiasis in a local river where they swim and bathe. My doctoral thesis consists of testing the hypothesis that following treatment with praziquantel, a novel water recreation area will be an effective and sustainable method of preventing reinfection with Schistosoma haematobium, the causative agent of urinary schistosomiasis. It is expected that children who use this recreation area will have lower burdens of urinary schistosomiasis as compared with children who use river water. If schistosomiasis prevalence is shown to decrease in the presence of the water recreation area, the recreation area may represent a new tool for use by public health officials in terms of sustainable primary prevention of urinary schistosomiasis.

By Land and By Sea: Connecting Maine’s Farming and Fishing Communities
Amanda Beal
Master’s Candidate, Agriculture, Food & Environment Program
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Ellen Tyler
Master’s Candidate, Agriculture, Food & Environment Program
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Ellen Tyler and Amanda Beal have developed an innovative and replicable framework for bringing two food producer communities together that have historically faced sustainability issues separately. The goal of this project, By Land and By Sea: Connecting Maine’s Farming and Fishing Communities, is to give farmers and fishermen1 an opportunity to identify areas for collaboration that will enable them to develop strategies which benefit shared natural resources and build resilient food systems.

Beal and Tyler have assembled a core planning team for this project, and successfully recruited representatives from the majority of Maine’s agricultural and fisheries non-governmental organizations and related state departments to sit around Maine’s Eat Local Foods Coalition table together for the first time. Beal and Tyler are leading this group through a coalition building process that establishes buy-in and collectively builds the project framework. This interface has produced the design and implementation of a series of regional round-table forums between farmers and fishermen, establishing feedback necessary to inform the group’s next steps: A shared strategic plan between participating institutions and a set of policy recommendations for Maine’s next governor.

2009-2010 Honorable Mentions
Inflatable Regidizable Wind Turbine Tower for Rapid Installation in Remote Locations
Alfram Bright, Ph.D. Candidate in Mechanical Engineering
School of Engineering

Towards Ecological Sustainability: Innovating New Techniques for Understanding Grassland Bird Decline
Alexander C. Keyel, Ph.D. Candidate in Biology
School of Arts & Sciences

Footprints in the Sand – Gold-Ceria as a Robust Catalyst for Sustainable Energy Production
Nan Yi, Ph.D. Candidate in Chemical Engineering
School of Engineering