A Summer of Research: Andrew Clarke, Thompson Run Watershed

My name is Andrew Clarke and I am a rising senior at the University of Pittsburgh. I am studying Environmental Science, receiving a minor in Economics, and a completing certificate in Sustainability. This is one of many blogs I will be completing through the Community Research Fellowship with the Honors College, and I am very excited to see what the summer holds!

During the school year, I have three main involvements outside of the classroom. My first is related to my academic interests, as I am a part Dr. Patrick Shirey’s lab through the department of Geology and Environmental Science. I am also involved in Phi Gamma Delta, a fraternity at Pitt. My third involvement incorporates my passion for visual arts – I work for Steel City Visuals as an event photographer on the weekends!

This summer I will be working in conjunction with the Community Research Fellowship, the Pittsburgh Collaboratory for Water Research, Education, & Outreach, and the Chalfant Run/Thompson Run Watershed Association. My project will be focused on the Thompson Run Watershed, located just east of Pittsburgh. The watershed has struggled with Acid Mine Drainage for decades, leaving the water contaminated with various pollutants. I will be testing water samples from strategic points in the watershed to better determine the origin of pollutants and using data to suggest remediation techniques. Dr. Patrick Shirey from the department of Geology and Environmental Science will be mentoring me through the research process, and Renee Dolney of the Chalfant Run/Thompson Run Watershed Association will be working closely with me to ensure I meet the association’s need for data collection.  

Pictured: Churchill Valley Greenway, an area of the Greater Thompson Run Watershed

This work is very exciting to me as I am provided with an opportunity to impact my community. Being active in and helping my community has always been a driving force for me – I’ve been very interested doing community-based work for some time now. I’ve always said that no matter what field of work I go into, as long as I am helping others, I will be happy. I’d certainly say this checks that box off.

I am looking forward to a great summer of work through the Community Research Fellowship!

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