RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) -- A team of University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering students placed first last week at an international environmental design competition for a system they created to clean hard, brackish water for municipal water districts.
The team's cumulative score was the highest in the 21-year history of the Waste-Management Education & Research Consortium contest in Las Cruces, N.M. Past participants have included the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and Cornell University.
"This is a historic achievement," said Kawai Tam, the students' advisor and a lecturer at the Bourns College of Engineering.
In addition, one of the team members, James Gutierrez, received the Terry McManus Outstanding student award. Gutierrez, a graduate of Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley, served in the Army Reserves for six years before enrolling at UC Riverside. The senior environmental engineering major will be pursuing his Ph.D. at Yale University starting in September.
"This award was about a commitment to sustainability," Gutierrez said. "This has to be something that is part of your life, the way you think and a fundamental concern every day. Even so, I was very surprised and speechless during the awarding."
The other four team members are senior chemical engineering majors:
Alfred Liu, of San Gabriel, who is looking for a post-graduation job; Cindy Brito, of Anaheim, who will be pursuing her Ph.D. at UC Santa Barbara in the fall; Andrew Mikkelson, of Hemet, who after graduating will be spending two years in school to be an officer on a Navy nuclear submarine; and Caleb Stanton, of Escondido, who will be attending Loma Linda University to seek a master's degree in geology this fall.
Nineteen teams from 14 universities competed at the contest hosted by New Mexico State University's Institute for Energy and the En
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University of California - Riverside