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News Releases from HeadquartersOffice of the Administrator (AO)

New York High School Student Receives Prestigious Award for Developing Clean Drinking Water Project

Award presented at world's largest high school science competition

Contact Information: 
Robert Daguillard (daguillard.robert@epa.gov)
202-564-6618, 202-564-4355

WASHINGTONA Dix Hills, New York, high school senior has won the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability Award for a project currently providing clean drinking water affordably to a community in Kenya.

"On behalf of the agency, I am proud to announce Alexis D’Alessandro as the Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability award winner for her work to protect public health and the environment” said Dr. Thomas A. Burke, EPA science advisor and deputy assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Research and Development. “This award is just one way EPA helps encourage and support the next generation of scientists and engineers to put their passion for innovation into practice."

Alexis D’Alessandro, a senior at Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills, New York won the award for providing a cost-effective alternative to reverse osmosis water purification for a community in the Turkana Basin of Kenya. A 9th grade classroom lesson on global water scarcity inspired her environmental engineering project, “Design and Implementation of a Sustainable Permeate Gap Membrane Distillation System for Water Purification in the Turkana Basin of Kenya.”

Ms. D’Alessandro took part in the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Ariz. this week, along with 1759 other student scientists and engineers from 77 countries, regions, and territories. The EPA Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability award gives the student winner and a chaperone the opportunity to display the student's project at EPA's National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, DC, featuring the People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) Student Design Competition, in the spring of 2017.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of the Society for Science & the Public, is the world's largest pre-college science competition. Students advance to the International Science and Engineering Fair from several levels of local and school-sponsored, regional and state fairs showcasing their independent research. The Society for Science & the Public, a nonprofit organization dedicated to public engagement in scientific research and education, owns and has administered the International Science and Engineering Fair since its inception in 1950.

More information about EPA's participation in the Intel ISEF:

More information about EPA’s People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) program: https://www.epa.gov/P3

More information about the Intel ISEF: http://www.societyforscience.org/ISEF/