Virginia Teen Challenges Experts with PFIESTERIA Findings; To Present Prize-Winning Research at Inte

June 20, 2001

    WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- ITT Industries, Inc.


(NYSE: ITT) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) today announced Brenda


Goguen, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in


Alexandria, Virginia, as this year's U.S. winner for the Stockholm Junior


Water Prize, the world's most prestigious water science prize for youth.


Goguen, whose research challenges the theory that Pfiesteria picicida caused


the crippling fish kills in the late 90s in the Chesapeake Bay region, will go


on to compete with finalists from 22 countries during World Water Week in


Stockholm, Sweden, with a grand prize presented by HRH Crown Princess Victoria


of Sweden.


    Goguen's project examined the microbial characteristics of Pfiesteria --


an organism believed to exist widely in a nontoxic, benign state, but with the


ability to attack fish by emitting powerful toxins when changing shape and


behavior.  Goguen studied DNA in soil sediments taken from five rivers that


empty into the Chesapeake Bay, from an experimental fish tank at the Center


for Marine Biotechnology (COMB) in Baltimore, Md., and from samples purported


to be pure amoeboid Pfiesteria cultures (tester samples).


    The results of Goguen's studies cast doubt on the validity of the


prevailing hypothesis that Pfiesteria preys upon fish.  Her research points


out that there may be other organisms causing the fish kills, and invites


broader thinking and further study. In addition, her findings may have


implications for the agricultural industry, as some researchers have linked


high levels of nutrients, such as fertilizer and animal waste, to outbreaks of


the toxic form of Pfiesteria.


    "While the judges were impressed with the level of sophistication shown in


all of the students' projects, Brenda showed courage in questioning a


prevailing viewpoint," said WEF Past President Charles Sorber, who led the


judging panel. "Her methodology was sound and disciplined, and she took on an


area that is so contemporary, she did not have the aid of a large body of


existing research."


    "A project of this magnitude and importance to the scientific community


truly demonstrates that young people can provide unique insights into solving


today's problems," said Thomas Martin, Senior Vice President and Director of


Corporate Relations for ITT Industries. "For the past five years we've been


sponsoring the prize, we've seen more than 200 national finalists from around


the world tackling issues as complex as contamination of drinking water


supplies and the effects of pollution on wildlife."


    Sponsored globally by ITT Industries and organized in the U.S. by WEF, the


Stockholm Junior Water Prize was established to encourage the interest of


young people in water environment issues at the regional, national, and


international levels. The prize, now in its fifth year, is awarded to high


school students who have contributed to water science through outstanding


original research. Student submissions are judged by water experts from WEF on


the basis of relevance, creative ability, scientific procedure, subject


knowledge, and presentation.


    Founded in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a


not-for-profit technical and educational organization with members from varied


disciplines who work toward the WEF vision of preservation and enhancement of


the global water environment. The WEF network includes more than 100,000 water


quality professionals from 77 Member Associations in 31 countries.


    ITT Industries, Inc. (NYSE: ITT) is a global engineering and manufacturing


company employing 42,000 people worldwide, with reported sales of $4.8 billion


in 2000.  ITT supplies advanced technology products and services in key


markets including: electronic interconnects and switches; defense


communication,


opto-electronics, information technology and services; fluid and water


management and specialty products.  In addition to the New York Stock


Exchange, ITT Industries is traded on the Midwest, Pacific, London, Frankfurt


and Paris exchanges.

Source:

ITT INdustries

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