Rachel Tenney Receives ARCS Award

Rachel Tenney, a PhD student co-advised by Professors Tim LaPara and Paige Novak, was selected to receive a Minnesota ARCS Scholar Award for the academic years of 2019-2021. ARCS Scholar Award recipients receive $5,000 per year for two years, which is a great help in sustaining research.

The Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation supports graduate-level students in the areas of science, technology, engineering and medical research. ARCS financial support helps students complete their degrees and helps the US remain scientifically competitive. Scholars are selected by their school and must meet ARCS Foundation’s high standards of academic excellence. The Minnesota Chapter of ARCS Foundation supports scholars from the University of Minnesota.

Novak explained that Tenney, a second-year PhD student studying Environmental Engineering within CEGE, is just beginning her research. “Rachel is setting up a complicated lab system so that she can monitor temperature, pH, and small concentrations of dissolved oxygen, all at the same time. She has a thorough, thoughtful, and careful approach. She has a clear picture of where she is going.”

Tenney will perform laboratory and field research to understand how nitrogen is removed in wastewater treatment ponds during winter and spring months when the temperature drops and ice cover can cause decreased oxygen levels. Tenney will also study how interventions, such as simple paddle mixing and aeration, can improve nitrogen removal in reactors designed to model pond systems. Her research will help the State of Minnesota understand how to improve nitrogen removal in wastewater treatment ponds when needed, protecting the quality and safety of surface water and groundwater.

Greg LeFevre (MS 2009, Ph.D. 2012) was an ARCS Scholar recipient in 2011-2012. In 2019, LeFevre received a National Science Foundation CAREER award for his stormwater research.

ARCS celebrated their 60th anniversary this summer. The Minnesota Chapter is celebrating their 10th year. Already ARCS Minnesota has awarded over $195,000 to 22 graduate students at UMN and has given its members opportunities to explore the community of world-renowned science and engineering in Minnesota.