Cassidy Brozovich and Madison Kacica, seniors studying food, agricultural and biological engineering (FABE), placed first and second respectively in their research category at the 28th Denman Undergraduate Research Forum last week. The Denman Forum allows graduating student researchers to share their endeavors with the broader university community. This year, the forum included over 200 presentations from student researchers.
Cassidy placed first in the “Earth and Beyond” category with her poster titled "Envisioning How Historical, Current, and Future Climate Relate to Urban Stormwater Control Measure Effectiveness." The project focused on quantifying climate change's effect on central Ohio's precipitation patterns and how this may affect future infrastructure design. She presented based on 70 years of data and even projected future changes up to 2050.
"Being involved in research has been one of the most impactful experiences during my undergraduate career," said Cassidy. "Additionally, being recognized as 1st place at the Denman Forum is one of the greatest accomplishments and honors I have ever received."
The results of Cassidy's study can help engineers make design decisions based on the future impacts that climate change will have on our environment. She will present the study at the American Ecological Engineering Society Conference in June and then work towards publishing the study over the summer.
Madison's project, also in the "Earth and Beyond" category, was titled "Estimating the Benefits of Legacy Phosphorous Fields for Targeted Best Management Practices," and focused on agricultural runoff, one of the largest contributors of phosphorus to Lake Erie, which accelerates the growth of harmful algal blooms. Her research specifically aims to quantify the benefits and elucidate the uncertainty of targeting phosphorous removal structures to agricultural fields with disproportionately heavy phosphorus loads, known as legacy-P fields.
"I was beyond ecstatic to find out I was a finalist for the Denman Forum, let alone placing 2nd in the Earth & Beyond category, " said Madison. "This was my first time presenting any of my research outside of a classroom setting, and with the help of my mentor, I felt prepared and confident to present."
Madison's research is being used to support the development of a program that will target these fields with nutrient management practices across Ohio and accomplish the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement's goal of reducing phosphorus loads by 40%.
Cassidy and Madison were also recently named as 2023 CFAES Distinguished Seniors in recognition of their achievements as undergraduate students at Ohio State. After graduation, Cassidy will be pursuing her Ph.D. at Ohio State in FABE researching the design of 3D-printed substrates for hydroponics in space. Madison will continue her work with Dr. Jay Martin as a graduate student in FABE and plans to work towards her professional engineering license.
Congratulations Cassidy and Madison! To view all the other Denman winners, click here.