The semiannual Water Security Symposium serves as a sort of right of passage for students going through the USPCASW exchange program. On November 29, in the Crimson View Room in the University of Utah’s Student Union, the fall cohort gathered to present their research projects to faculty and fellow students. Each student created an illustrated poster featuring their research project. Topics were as diverse as tracking water borne pathogens and microbes through water systems, to the effects of evapotranspiration in agriculture, green roof water recycling systems, and the accessibility of safe sanitation facilities for girl’s in Pakistan’s rural school system.
Steve Burian, the director of the USPCASW, described some of the achievements leading up to the event. “Each of these students has demonstrated a level of commitment and dedication to get here. This fall cohort has completed more than one hundred hours of focused research, thirty hours of writing instruction, and more than eighty hours of writing practicum,” observed Professor Burian. “Many of our students completed challenging courses in epidemiology, hydroinformatics, and climate change impacts. These are real achievements.”
The event also highlighted the success of the new USPCASW “Cultural Diplomat” program, which encourages students to independently broadened the scope of their experience here in Utah. This program requires students to engage with the community through volunteering, attending cultural events, and exploring natural landscapes. Mehran Sattar and Faris Ahmed were recognized as trailblazers, becoming the first two students to complete all seven criteria required to receive the award.
Professor Burian concluded the symposium by describing some of the parallels between Utah and Pakistan. “We share a similar geography and face similar challenges when it comes to water. The scope of these research projects is equally relevant to both of our communities, and the work we are doing through the USPCASW exchange program serves to further bind our two regions together.”