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Westminster College Students Earn Western Pennsylvania Environmental Award

Monday, May 6, 2013

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.  - Westminster College students Lance Jubic and Tyler Umstead will be presented an award by Dominion and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council at the May 23 Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards Dinner and Ceremony in Pittsburgh.

The award is being presented for the students' leadership, effectiveness and results in making an impact on the environment and includes a $5,000 prize.  The students created a website that allows water quality data and information to be shared among volunteers who monitor streams in proximity to hydraulic fracturing activity in the region.

The Lawrence and Mercer ALLARM website was created to empower local communities with scientific tools to assess, protect, and restore waterways.  With increased hydraulic fracturing activity in Pennsylvania, one of the features of this website focuses on monitoring of contaminants associated with shale gas extraction. The website can be accessed at:  https://sites.google.com/site/lawrencecountyallarm/.

Both chemistry majors, neither Umstead nor Jubic had any experience in web development or design so they taught themselves the skills needed to develop and continually enhance the site.

Jubic is a son of Gregory and Mary Jubic of Leechburg and a graduate of Kiski Area High School.

Umstead is a son of Daniel and Jill Umstead of Butler and a graduate of Slippery Rock Area High School.

The project was completed as an independent study under the direction of Dr. Helen Boylan, associate professor of chemistry. Boylan, a Westminster graduate who joined the faculty in 2001, earned a Ph.D. from Duquesne University.

The students are now working with Dr. Jeffrey Boerner, assistant professor of math, on a smartphone application that links to the website and will allow volunteers to upload data to the site from remote locations.

Jubic and Umstead's project is one of five winners from western Pennsylvania chosen by a group of independent judges of environmental experts and Pennsylvania Environmental Council staff in response to a call for entries earlier this year.

Contact Boylan at (724) 946-6293 or email for additional information.

Lance Jubic (L) and Tyler Umstead (R) work on the ALLARM website.
Umstead (L and Front) and Jubic (R) work in the chemistry lab.
Umstead (L) and Jubic (R) collect data out in the field.