As part of a National Science Foundation-funded project, Katie Young spent her summer at the University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center (UNDERC) in Wisconsin. Her responsibilities there included investigating how the chemical characteristics of natural organic matter (NOM) were affected by the adsorption of NOM to bacteria and mineral surfaces. Katie is currently a graduate student in the Department of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences at the University. She received her bachelor's degree, majoring in geology with a minor in environmental science, from Lawrence University.
While at UNDERC Katie also analyzed the photodegradation of NOM by ultraviolet radiation, sampling three sites around the UNDERC facility. Encompassing thousands of acres, the UNDERC offered a variety of very complex systems for her to study. After all, understanding an entire ecosystem may be the first step to engineering solutions to global environmental problems.