Jun 30, 2011

New Jersey Student Wins U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize Competition

Alison Bick will travel to Stockholm in August to compete in international competition

Alison Bick of Short Hill, N.J., was named the U.S. winner of the 2011 Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) during a ceremony last weekend at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.

Bick’s project, “Development and Evaluation of a Microfluidic Co-Flow Device to Determine Water-Quality,” was selected from more than 40 state SJWP winners at the national competition held in Chicago from June 23 to 25.

Concerned by the threat of contaminated drinking water from events such as natural or man-made disasters, Bick sought a low-cost, portable and publicly accessible method for testing water potability. Her research concluded that a combination of microfluidics, cell-phones and Colilert-18—a chemical that becomes yellow in the presence of coliform bacteria and a water sample in a single channel—is a novel way of determining several water qualities.

“Miss Bick’s project dealt with an emerging technology and associated issues that were clearly state-of-the-art science,” said Mohamed F. Dahab, chair of the SJWP Review Committee. “Overall, we were very impressed with the high caliber of research and creativity presented by all of the young men and women who participated in this year’s competition.”

Bick received $3,000 and an all-expenses paid trip to Stockholm, where she will compete against national winners from more than 30 countries for the international prize during World Water Week, August 21 to 27. Princess Victoria of Sweden will present the international award—$5,000 and a crystal sculpture—during a royal ceremony held in conjunction with the Stockholm Water Symposium.

Bick’s school, Millburn High School, will receive a $1,000 grant toward enhancing water science education and she will have the opportunity to present her research to thousands of water quality professionals at WEFTEC 2011 this October in Los Angeles.

Four U.S. finalists, Jenifer Brown from Hillsborough, N.C.; Collin McAliley of Melbourne Beach, Fla.; Leila Musavi from Orono, Maine; and Nishith Reddy from Naperville, Ill., also received a $1,000 award.

In addition to being a finalist, Musavi was also the first recipient of the Bjorn von Euler Innovation in Water Scholarship for her project, “Development and Optimization of Gold-Nanoparticle Modified Carbon Electrode Biosensor for Detection of Listeria Monocytogenes.” The award recognizes projects that demonstrate a unique passion for education and awareness of sustainable water management. New this year, the $1,000 scholarship honors the valuable work and contributions of former Water Environment Federation (WEF) board member and retired ITT Corp. communications director Bjorn von Euler.

WEF sponsors the U.S. SJWP with support from ITT Corp., The Coca-Cola Co. and Delta Air Lines. The Illinois Water Environment Assn. hosted the 2011 national competition and Bick received the sponsorship from the New Jersey Water Environment Assn.