Two Undergraduates Awarded to PEI’s Environmental Scholars Program

Holly Welles ・ High Meadows Environmental Institute

Two undergraduates have been selected to the Environmental Scholars Program by the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI). This two-year award was given to geosciences majors, Alison Campion ’16 and civil and environmental engineering major, Elliot Chang ‘16.

With an inaugural gift in 2011 from Elizabeth A. Smith and Ray E. Newton III ’86, the Environmental Scholars Program was established to support advanced undergraduate scholarship in the broad area of environmental studies. It is honorific in nature and designed to reward students who have shown exceptional promise in their academic coursework and in select summer research apprenticeships under the guidance of Princeton faculty.

Through the Program, the scholars will continue research apprenticeships with a member of the Princeton faculty in the summer following their sophomore year and on a continuous basis culminating in field study as an integral component of their junior and senior independent work.

Students are nominated during the fall semester to submit application materials for admission to the program. Selection is made by committee and admitted students are eligible to receive up to $15,000 to support their research agenda over a two year period.

PEI Environmental Scholars: Awarded in 2014

Alison Campion ‘16

Alison Campion ‘16, Newton Family Scholar

Major: Geosciences
Research Topic: Late Paleozoic Ice Age: Carbon and Oxygen Isotopes in Carbonate Parasequences
Adviser: Adam Maloof, associate professor of geosciences and PEI associated faculty member

Campion will study carbonate sediments from the Late Paleozoic Ice Age (~300 million years ago) with the goal of learning more about what drove the frequency and magnitude of glacial–interglacial climate change. During the Late Paleozoic, southern Africa, South America, India, and Australia were covered in ice, and Britain was covered in a tropical sea that recorded climate and sea level changes in its seabed carbonate sediments. Campion will travel to England this summer to conduct field observation research and to collect Paleozoic-age carbonate sediment samples that she will analyze in a lab upon return to Princeton. By combining her field and lab results, she hopes to improve the understanding of past and present climate change. Campion is enrolled in the Environmental Studies Program.

Elliot Chang ’16

Elliot Chang ’16, Newton Family Scholar

Major: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Research Topic: The Use of Alginate and Chitosan to Purify Leaf Distillates of Organic Contaminants
Adviser: Adam Wolf, research associate, ecology and evolutionary biology

Chang’s research will focus on developing more accurate measurements in isotopic analysis through the use of cleaner distillates (without organic contamination). Through this process, his goal is to improve the ability to predict the impact of climate change on tree survival. Over the next two years, he will investigate the effectiveness of alginate-chitosan hybridized beads. He hypothesizes that these reusable beads are a more effective and economical method of purifying pine and other organic compound distillates. For this project, Chang will draw upon the knowledge and skills gained through coursework and two Grand Challenges internships.