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Westminster College’s Environmental Program Announces Symposium Award Recipients

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Posted on Monday, January 4, 2016

More than 150 students and professionals attended the Student Symposium on the Environment at Westminster College on Dec. 3, an annual event sponsored by Westminster’s Environmental Programs and the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition. 

The symposium comprised a total of 65 student presentations, including posters, displays, and oral presentations, with student participants from Westminster College, Duquesne University, Geneva College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock University, and Youngstown State University.   

“We are excited to announce that this was our biggest environmental symposium yet,” said Dr. Helen Boylan, professor and program coordinator for the environmental program. “Due to the size of the symposium, awards were given in four categories, and the judges indicated that the scoring was very close. All participating students should be very proud of their work.”

Awards in the environmental presentation category included: first place to “Lawrence and Mercer ALLARM Program: A 6-Week Water Quality Study” given by Westminster students Kelsey KilbaneChristina Mauri, and Jamie Linderman; and honorable mention to “Helping Local People Save Local Land: My Internship at Allegheny Land Trust” given by Rachael Letscher, a senior at Westminster.

Awards in the class project category included: first place to “50 Shades of Logwood Produced from Natural Dyeing” by Westminster College students Amelia Hartzell, Megan Prybyl and Sarah Laughlin; and honorable mention to “How Do Environmental Problems Exacerbate Poverty” by Carli Sebest, a first year biology major at Westminster.

Awards in the research poster category included:  first place to “Geospatial Analysis of Unconventional Gas Extraction in Cross Creek County Park and its Watershed” by Tyler Umstead of Duquesne University, and honorable mention to “Relationship Between Mercury Concentration and Wind Movement in the Great Lakes Region” by Victoria Yeager of Slippery Rock University.

Awards in the research poster category included:  first place to “Investigation of Water Quality in Proximity to Unconventional Gas Extraction Within and Around Cross Creek County Park, PA” by Umstead and honorable mention to “Protecting the Eastern Hemlocks: Monitoring for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in McConnells Mill State Park” by Letscher, Mauri and Linderman.

For more information about the symposium or environmental science at Westminster College, contact Boylan at or (724) 946-6293.