Flaherty’ 10 earns Fulbright Scholarship – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Flaherty’ 10 earns Fulbright Scholarship

For the sixth consecutive year, an HWS student has been recognized by the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, the Fulbright Program.

Next fall, biology and environmental studies double major Brittany Flaherty ’10 will travel to Vancouver, British Columbia on a Fulbright Scholarship to study and conduct research at the University of British Columbia.

At UBC, Flaherty, who last year received the prestigious Morris K. Udall Scholarship, will analyze data about land use in the Canadian portion of the Sumas River watershed, studying the impacts of dense agriculture on nutrient and heavy metal levels as reported by the UBC Water, Ecosystems and Communities research group.

“This is another great honor for Brittany and for the Colleges,” says HWS President Mark D. Gearan.  “To have received a competitive Fulbright Scholar award is a wonderful accomplishment and a testimony to the quality and promise of her projects.”

The Fulbright Program is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”  With this goal as a starting point, the Fulbright Program has provided almost 300,000 participants-chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential-with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Flaherty says her goals for this project are “to generate valuable information about the impact of land use and legislation on water quality and disease outbreaks. This will encourage protection of watersheds and demonstrate the need for increased cooperation between the U.S. and Canada on environmental issues.  Water quality mitigation efforts are often reactive, but examining the causes could encourage a preventative approach to public health and watershed protection.”

Flaherty is currently undertaking an honors thesis examining contamination of drinking water in the Finger Lakes region with a focus on groundwater quality.  Outside of the classroom, Flaherty is the co-founder and co-president of the Colleges Against Cancer/Relay for Life; the co-creator of HWS Green Minutes; a member of America Reads, Arts Collective and the Biology faculty review committee. 

As Flaherty says, her Fulbright research will be invaluable for “an academic program that focuses on either water science or policy and in a career related to environmental protection and improvement of human health.”