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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

UNC: Doctoral Student Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for Environmental Engineering

Mr. Riley Vickers, a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, is one of 31 environmental engineering students in the country to win a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship in 2019.

With this award, Mr. Vickers, who studies in the Gillings School’s environmental sciences and engineering department, has earned three years of support for his graduate education. His research focuses on designing new ion exchange membranes, used to desalinate water and store electricity, that may enhance global capacity for water purification and sustainable energy generation.

“I am honored to have received the award and deeply thankful to my lab mates, Dr. Cass Miller and Dr. Orlando Coronell. I wouldn’t be where I am without their support and helpful guidance,” said Mr. Vickers.

Mr. Vickers’ research is a collaborative effort with the Coronell Research Group — led by Dr. Orlando Coronell, associate professor of environmental sciences and engineering — and Dr. Cass T. Miller, Okun Distinguished Professor of environmental sciences and engineering. The group studies membrane-based processes for water purification and energy production and storage, with applications in municipal, industrial and household systems.

“NSF Graduate Research Fellowships are prestigious awards granted to highly promising students who propose to do innovative work of potential high impact,” said Dr. Coronell. “I am delighted that one of our students has been awarded this fellowship, as it speaks well to the quality of both our students and the work performed in our department.”

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