Two Students Receive Mary and Randall Hack ‘69 Graduate Award

Holly Welles ・ High Meadows Environmental Institute

Two graduate students were selected to receive the Mary and Randall Hack ‘69 Graduate Award in support of their innovative research on water and water-related topics with implications for the environment. The 2013 recipients are Carole Dalin from Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Xingli Giam from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Carole Dalin

Carole DalinIn her doctoral research, Dalin has focused on “virtual water trade”, the virtual transfers of water through trade of commodities requiring water for their production.

This summer, she will commence an analysis of virtual water trade in China, with an environmental policy perspective. The first research phase involves building the virtual water trade network associated with domestic food trade in China, both under current and future socio-economic and climate conditions. In the second phase, she will assess the impacts on water and food security of specific policy scenarios.

“This work will combine virtual water trade and policy analysis to show which specific policies could be most effective in mitigating pressure on water resources in some regions of China, while keeping food supply adequate in the whole country,” said Dalin. “This topic fascinates me because of its increasing environmental and social importance and its inter-disciplinary technical aspects, standing at the intersection of hydrology, agronomy, economics and policy.”

Xingli Giam

Xingli GiamGiam’s dissertation research addresses the impacts of land-use change on freshwater systems in Southeast Asia.

With support received from the 2013 Mary and Randall Hack ‘69 Graduate Award, he will conduct two projects with direct freshwater conservation relevance. In the first, he will elucidate the impacts of land-clearing and drainage of peat lands on freshwater biodiversity and food-web structure in the Belait peat swamp forests of Brunei. In the second, he will assess the value of riparian buffers toward the conservation of fish and food-webs in the industrial oil palm landscape in Southeast Asia.

Describing his research Giam said, “Overall, I believe that my graduate research will provide new insights into the ecology of freshwater systems under threat by rapid land-use change as well as provide evidence for mitigation strategies. This line of research has tremendous conservation relevance on the ground and I am confident that it can inform conservation policy in both public (national, governmental) as well as private (oil palm corporations) spheres.”

Giam said he will use these award funds to support lab analysis work and travel needs.

Funds from the Mary and Randall Hack ‘69 Graduate Award are administered by the Princeton Environmental Institute and may be used for a range of purposes including:  summer stipend, fieldwork, travel, conference participation, equipment, and other costs associated with data analysis and facilities use. Student projects from a broad range of disciplines are eligible for consideration.