Chemical engineering student takes top honors at Student Research Week

Photo of Laura BradtLaura Bradt, an undergraduate student in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M, has been awarded first-place honors at the university’s Student Research Week for her research presentation.

Bradt, who presented “Analysis of Desalination Processes for Treatment of Produced Water for Irrigation Water Re-Use,” received top honors in the “Earth Sciences, Geosciences, Water Resources” oral presentation category.

Her presentation detailed the re-use of the millions of barrels of produced water retrieved from oil wells each year for the purpose of irrigation. Her research will culminate in the publication of an undergraduate thesis on the subject and later a referred journal publication.

“Produced water has a high level of contaminants, especially salts, which cannot be present in irrigation water, Bradt says. “After giving general constraints for irrigation water, I gave representative values for the contaminant concentrations in produced water case studies. The final step in my research was to identify the water-treatment processes that fit the constraints of the produced water feed and irrigation water product.”

The mission of Student Research Week is to recognize and celebrate student research at Texas A&M by providing an opportunity for students to present research and to foster an environment for students, faculty, staff and administration to learn about the research occurring at the university.

“Laura is highly deserving of this honor,” said Professor Mahmoud El-Halwagi, who supervised Bradt’s research and served as adviser to Bradt. “She is an excellent researcher and has shown a great deal of dedication, professionalism and creativity. Laura also has an impressive ability transforming complex problems into tractable tasks and has the foresight to focus on the research issues that truly matter."

Originally a one-day poster event, Texas A&M’s Student Research Week is now a full-week event that supports hundreds of students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels who represent all academic colleges in poster and oral competitions.

Conducted entirely by graduate students, Student Research Week is sponsored by the Graduate Student Council in conjunction with the Office of Graduate Studies, Vice President for Research, Department of Student Life and Undergraduate Programs & Academic Services as well as the academic colleges, administrators, faculty and staff of the university.

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