Jason Jung working on his undergraduate research project during the summer.

Jason Jung working on his undergraduate research project during the summer

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Pacific News

Cleaning Up the Environment, One Engineer at a Time

Cindy VanOct 8, 2013

The School of Engineering & Computer Science would like to proudly extend its congratulations to civil engineering undergraduate student, Jason Jung. Jason was recently awarded a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowship, a national fellowship consisting of a two-year appointment with the U.S. EPA. As part of this fellowship, Jason will receive financial support for tuition, fees, and books during the next two years as well as a stipend for expenses. Jason will also complete an eight week summer internship at a U.S. EPA office. Jason is modest when he explains that receiving this fellowship has more to do with the projects that he works on, rather than his talent alone. "This is a terrific opportunity for me and helps bring a much needed spotlight on the work we do in the Ecological Engineering Research Program."  

While he has always been interested in civil engineering, from the start of his college career Jason has shown consistent dedication to environmental research. Since his freshman year, he has held a position working in the Ecological Engineering Research Program (EERP) lab. He has also participated in the undergraduate research symposium on campus. As part of his work with the EERP, Jason has been working on projects related to water quality in the San Joaquin River as well as projects in biomass energy, and assisting in establishing a dedicated Biomass Energy Lab in south campus. This past summer Jason did an undergraduate research project where he studied carbon storage in wetland soil at the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge located near Los Banos.

Dr. Mary Kay Camarillo, assistant professor of civil engineering and Jason's advisor, comments, "Over the last two years Jason has worked for the EERP, completing research related to water quality, agriculture, and energy in California. Jason has demonstrated dedication and strong work ethic in working on these environmental projects. He has excellent project management and communication skills that make him well suited for collaborative work. Winning the EPA fellowship will allow him to grow academically and professionally. In particular, I think that he will be a great asset to the EPA when he completes his summer internship. Jason has a lot of wonderful opportunities, both now and in the future, based on these experiences."

Part of Jason's success is due to the opportunities that the EERP has already provided for him through research projects. The EERP focuses on water quality and ecosystem restoration projects for the San Joaquin River and has three dedicated labs for water quality, analytical, and biomass energy research. The program is under the direction of Dr. William Stringfellow, a professor of environmental sciences and engineering. He holds a joint appointment with University of the Pacific and Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA. Dr. Stringfellow has received over $9 million in funding from both federal and state agencies over the last several years to support his critical research on quantifying the impact of non-point pollution on surface waters and mitigating pollution impacts using wetlands and natural systems. These are the research projects that support this critical work and provide the resources for Jason to cultivate his passions for civil engineering and environmental research. Jason mentions, "Without Dr. Stringfellow and Dr. Camarillo, I would never have applied for this fellowship. Between the projects themselves and the recommendations, I would never have this opportunity which means so much to me and my family."

The School of Engineering and Computer Science prides itself on being able to provide the kinds of experiences and research opportunities that help develop tomorrow's problem solvers. Through experiential learning and working directly with faculty in research labs, students are able to learn the skills necessary to engineer solutions for problems affecting the community and the world today. Experiences such as working with the Environmental Protection Agency will give Jason insight about working with government agencies and see first-hand what is necessary to succeed in such an environment, according to Dr. Stringfellow. "It is very exciting work and a great opportunity to have real-world experience working with the EPA and within a federal laboratory."

Jason is a prime example of how dedication, passion, and a quality learning environment can lead to great opportunities and success. Dean Steven Howell states, "The School of Engineering and Computer Science is proud of Jason's accomplishments in receiving this very competitive national award.  I would like to acknowledge and thank the faculty and staff of the Pacific Ecological Engineering Research Program for providing opportunities for exciting and meaningful environmental research experiences for undergraduate students such as Jason."

For more information about the EERP or other items mentioned in this story please go to www.eerp.org or contact the School of Engineering & Computer Science at soecsdevelopment@pacific.edu