Students and Alums Present Research – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Students and Alums Present Research

During winter break, HWS science students Prabi Basnet ’09 (environmental studies), Sam Georgian ’10 (biology), Katherine Hoering ’10 (geoscience), and Kerry O’Neill ’09 (geoscience) presented their summer research activities at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting in San Francisco. While there, they had an opportunity to see presentations by former HWS geoscience students Megan Crocker ’07, Kathryn Loddengaard ’07, Sandy Baldwin ’01 and Rob Stewart ’03.  

The current students presented on various facets of their 2008 summer research activities with Professor John Halfman:

  • Basnet investigated the persistently high nutrient concentration in the bottom waters of Cayuga Lake and its impact on degraded water quality, especially at the southern end of the lake.
  • Georgian compared the numerous means to look at the factors that make lake water turbid, and compared the ability to measure them in the field and in the lab.
  • Hoering looked at the data from Otisco Lake, which was surveyed by Finger Lakes Institute for the first time this past summer.
  • O’Neill investigated water quality trends based on water clarity, nutrient concentrations and other fundamental limnological indicators in eight of the Finger Lakes based on data she, her student cohorts and former students have collected since 2005.

Crocker and Loddengaard worked closely with Associate Professor Tara Curtin. Their research investigated the origin of a wave-cut scarp found throughout the northern end of Seneca Lake. Their detailed sediment analyses through summer projects, independent research and honors projects have proposed a viable hypothesis that combines lower lake levels and crustal rebound due to Laurentide deglaciation that has been alluding past investigators (including Halfman and others) for many years.  

Baldwin has been working at the U. S. Geological Survey at Woods Hole, Mass. since graduating from William Smith College. She presented research on the nitrogen contamination and nitrogen redox hydrogeochemistry in ground water.  

Stewart, a graduate student at the University of New Hampshire, worked for an environmental consulting firm before entering graduate school to learn more about modeling water resources and surface and ground water contamination.  

“The trip was highlighted with a chance to meet with Professor Emeritus Don Woodrow,” said Halfman. “Don cares very deeply about geoscience and the other sciences at the Colleges, and helps whenever he can.”  

All of the students have been part of the Summer Research Program at HWS, where selected students are allowed work beside faculty on their research projects and learn firsthand what it takes to become successful in their chosen field.  

In the photo above: Hoering, O’Neill and Georgian are in the back (l to r) and Basnet (front).