Participation in Armour R&D Leads to NSF Graduate Research Fellowship For Alumna Sara Glade

Recent Armour College of Engineering alumna Sara Glade (ChE, ‘15, M.S. EnvE, ‘15) was awarded a 2016 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. This prestigious fellowship includes individuals who have gone on to make breakthroughs in their areas of expertise and been honored as Nobel laureates.

Glade was one of 2,000 awardees representing 488 baccalaureate institutions selected from a pool of 17,000 candidates. The diverse group of winners includes 1,077 women, 424 individuals from underrepresented minority groups, 62 persons with disabilities, 35 veterans and 627 senior undergraduates.

The NSF has provided fellowships to individuals who have demonstrated the potential to achieve significant advancements in science and engineering since 1952. The fellowship provides three years of support to students for graduate study that leads to a research-based master’s or doctoral degree in science or engineering.

Glade was first exposed to research through Armour R&D, a Distinctive Education program at Armour College where undergraduate students gain experience conducting research and development work in the lab of a faculty member. She participated in the program for three semesters working on a variety of projects. A paper she authored with her mentor, based on her work in the program, was even published by American Water Works Association (AWWA).

“Armour R&D gave me the space to understand the research process better as well as gain relevant research experience,” Glade states. Participation in the program also allowed her to discover an area of her research where her true passion lies early in her academic career. “I worked on diverse research topics which helped increase my breadth of understanding of environmental engineering research topics and helped me focus my graduate research area,” said Glade.

Wanting to make a positive impact on the world, Glade originally considered doing international development work after graduating. After conducting research through Armour R&D, she realized that she could combine both of her interests and use research to develop technology for sustainable development.

Currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of California Berkeley working in the Gadgil Lab for Energy and Water Research, Glade has continued on her path to develop sustainable technologies that improve the lives of people all over the world. She is currently working to develop a low cost process for remediating nitrate-contaminated groundwater in rural regions. She is focusing her research on better understanding the potential of iron electrocoagulation to meet this need. Through this research, Glade ultimately hopes to improve upon existing technologies such as reverse osmosis and ion exchange to bring safe water to communities without access worldwide.