Dr. Jennifer Mendell led BSU biology students Jen Conway, Heidi Lima, Rachel Toews and Zach Ripatrazone on a trip to Cambodia in an effort to disseminate fresh drinking water thanks to a grant from the Undergraduate Research Abroad program.
The trip was part of a continuing effort by BSU to help address the clean water needs of poor villages in Cambodia.
The problem, however, is global. According to the World Health Organization, 780 million people lack access to any type of an improved water source. The result of the lack of this basic necessity is 1.6 million deaths every year from microbial associated diarrheal diseases, with 90 percent of these deaths occurring in children under five years of age.
In Cambodia, 40 percent of the population does not have access to safe drinking water.
Through the efforts of the Middletown Rotary Club's Water for Cambodia project and BSU’s Dr. Kevin Curry, professor of biology, these numbers are decreasing through raised awareness and the installation of point-of-use water filtration systems. The students, in collaboration with the Water for Cambodia Lab in Siem Reap, are testing the efficacy of light biosand filters in the elimination of bacterial contaminants. In addition, the BSU team has been identifying specific pathogens in the water supplies for further study back at BSU in hopes of determining optimal strategies for creating cleaner water.
The trip was funded by an Undergraduate Research Abroad grant from the Adrian Tinsley Program for Undergraduate Research and BSU's Division of External Affairs. (File photo, story by Stacy Moskos Nistendirk, University Advancement)