May 16, 2016

EPA Awards High Schooler for Drinking Water Project

New York senior wins Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability Award for project in Kenya

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A Dix Hills, New York, high school senior has won the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability Award for a project currently providing clean drinking water affordably to a community in Kenya.

"On behalf of the agency, I am proud to announce Alexis D’Alessandro as the Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability Award winner for her work to protect public health and the environment” said Dr. Thomas A. Burke, EPA science advisor and deputy assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Research and Development. “This award is just one way EPA helps encourage and support the next generation of scientists and engineers to put their passion for innovation into practice."

Alexis D’Alessandro, a senior at Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills, N.Y. won the award for providing a cost-effective alternative to reverse osmosis water purification for a community in the Turkana Basin of Kenya. A 9th grade classroom lesson on global water scarcity inspired her environmental engineering project, “Design and Implementation of a Sustainable Permeate Gap Membrane Distillation System for Water Purification in the Turkana Basin of Kenya.”

D’Alessandro took part in the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair in Phoenix, along with 1,759 other student scientists and engineers from 77 countries, regions and territories. The EPA Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability award gives the student winner and a chaperone the opportunity to display the student's project at EPA's National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, DC, featuring the People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Student Design Competition, in the spring of 2017.

The Intel Intl. Science and Engineering Fair, a program of the Society for Science & the Public, is the world's largest pre-college science competition. Students advance to the Intl. Science and Engineering Fair from several levels of local and school-sponsored, regional and state fairs showcasing their independent research. The Society for Science & the Public, a nonprofit organization dedicated to public engagement in scientific research and education, owns and has administered the Intl. Science and Engineering Fair since its inception in 1950.

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