2018-19 The Libby Reed Scholarship in the Geosciences: Janelle Valdinger

Libby Reed

We are pleased to announce that rising junior Janelle Valdinger has been awarded the 2018-19 Libby Reed Scholarship, currently $9,000 per academic year, to be extended through her senior year at OWU.

“The most selective colleges and universities, such as Ohio Wesleyan, have students and professors whose thirst for knowledge surpasses those of most of their peers. They are eager to transcend the ordinary challenge of everyday courses and laboratory work and adopt a pace appropriate to their extraordinary talents and motivation. Incredible professors make indelible imprints on these lives. Professor Libby Reed exemplified such a thirst for learning complemented by an intense desire and talent for teaching.”

“In recognition of Professor Reed’s enthusiasm and dedication to education and her persistence in teaching him to write, Richard Alexander ‘ 82 established The Libby Reed Scholarship in the Geosciences. The income from this endowed fund will be used annually to award a scholarship to a rising Junior who exemplifies academic excellence and who shows promise and dedication to the study of the geosciences.”

Janelle Valdinger

Janelle works for the City of Delaware Public Utilities Department, as a GIS Technician, and chose to finish her undergraduate coursework (started at OSU) at OWU last year. In the short time Janelle has been at OWU she has had a profound impact on campus by engaging with faculty, staff, and students on collaborative projects of interest to both OWU and the City of Delaware.

In the Fall of 2017 she developed a project proposal to install two bio-retention cells (rain gardens) on OWU’s campus, near Branch Ricky Arena. The cells were installed in the spring of 2018. Funds for the gardens came from a City of Delaware grant, and OWU contributes to the maintenance of the gardens. An OWU press release written by Cole Hatcher details the project and Janelle’s collaborators on the project: “Purposeful Plantings.”

John Krygier, co-director of the Environment & Sustainability Program at OWU has been working with Janelle, city Watershed and Sustainability Coordinator Caroline Cicerchi on a series of student collaborative projects, internships and externships. The ultimate goal is to provide students with engaged, OWU Connection experiences that are intellectually and practically challenging and that benefit OWU and the City.

Projects guided by Valdinger, Cicerchi and Krygier underway this semester include:

City Public Utilities Externship: Genaro Garcia (Environmental Studies, ’20): Gain practical knowledge in watershed planning, water quality monitoring efforts, water quality improvement initiatives, storm-water management planning, MS4 permit implementation, the use of GIS software and equipment, reading/understanding record drawings, grant research, community outreach, professional conferences, and formal meetings. Build critical thinking, research, and writing skills by assisting with multiple projects developed in collaboration with Public Utilities staff, and submitting a final report on this work.

Bio-Retention Cells: Kayla Adolph (Geography, Politics & Government ’19): Assess and develop a plan for a bio-retention cell near OWU’s Merrick Hall and one near OWU’s Citizens of the World House.

Green-Roofed Bike Racks: Celeste Wallick (Environmental Studies, ’20): Develop a plan and budget for one or two covered bike racks on OWU’s campus and in Delaware. Ideally, these bike racks would have a green, living roof, which would allow OWU students to do research on the plants on an actual green roof.

Delaware Food Scraps Composting Project: Kait Aromy (Botany, Environmental Studies, ’20): Working with Worthington (OH)-based Compost Exchange/Innovative Organics on a drop-off program for food scraps at the Delaware Farmer’s Market.

Storm Drain Net Project: Brianna Graber (Zoology, ’20): Working with City Public Utilities to fund and install a storm drain net over one or two major storm drains in the City of Delaware. These nets catch larger items washed into the storm drains before they get into the Olentangy River. The material caught by the net will be analyzed to develop a sense of the kinds of larger waste being washed into the Olentangy via the storm drain sewers, leading to strategies to reduce such waste at the origin.

E Coli Testing for Delaware Run: Ashley McCracken (Chemistry, ’19): Delaware Run, which flows along OWU’s campus and empties into the Olentangy River, has had a notable increase in e coli detected by tests on Run water done over the past few years. The e coli counts are particularly high during the increasing number of storm events. Ashley McCracken, a senior Chemistry major and Geography minor is developing a procedure for a lower-cost method to test for e coli, allowing us to do more sampling and testing of the water and, hopefully, determine the source of the e coli contamination.

Storm Water Awareness: Cole Petty (Business, ’19): Developing an interactive presentation and short “field” experience for city of Delaware 4th grade students, focused on understanding the problem of stormwater pollution. The effort includes an exploration of stormwater drains near the elementary schools, which will be marked with “Drains to the River” plaques.

Trashy Art: Shayla Scheitler (Environmental Studies, ’20): An environmental art project, using an array of spectacular and mundane items extracted from waterways in the city of Delaware. An assemblage will be partially created with these items, and a Peace and Justice House (SLU) open house held, where students and other visitors can manipulate the items and ponder the role of waste in our environment.

“City of Delaware Public Utilities Department geographic information system (GIS) technician Janelle Valdinger, left, shows co-worker Ron Spring how to update work orders in the field using one of the department’s new tablets.”

Photo above from the Delaware Gazette: “Technology increases efficiency: City utility crews using tablets, GPS in field.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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