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05-07-2016

Clarkson University Senior Emily Gonthier Receives Frederica Clarkson Award

Graduating senior Emily Gonthier of Norfolk, N.Y., received the Frederica Clarkson Award during Clarkson University's 123rd commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 7. She was selected for the $1,000 award by a vote of the full University faculty based on her scholarship and promise of outstanding achievement.

FredericaThe award was established in 1921 as a bequest in the will of Frederica Clarkson, sister of Thomas S. Clarkson, for whom the University is named. This award and the Levinus Clarkson Award are traditionally given to the two top students in the graduating class.

Gonthier received a bachelor of science degree in environmental engineering. She has been a Presidential Scholar for eight semesters and will graduate with a 4.0 grade-point average. During her time at Clarkson University, she gained valuable research experience in the water quality field and was an active part of extra-curricular activities on campus.

She was introduced to research after her freshman year. The summer after her first year, Gonthier performed studies on ceramic water filtration for removing arsenic and bacteria from water in developing nations. Her research culminated in a poster presentation at the Sustainable Remediation Forum (SURF) Conference in Chicago.

Gonthier enjoyed conducting research so much that she chose to pursue Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) for the following two summers. Gonthier participated in an REU at Clarkson, where she examined the water quality in three local rivers (Raquette, Grasse, and St. Regis) using caddisfly larvae and limnological measurements as indicators. This past summer, Gonthier took part in an REU at UC Berkeley through the Re-inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt) Research Center. While working in the water quality laboratory at UC Berkeley, she explored the use of anaerobic ammonia oxidizing (anammox) bacteria for nitrogen removal in wastewater and presented her research at a professional conference in Sheffield, England.

Outside of her curriculum and research, Gonthier was involved in a number of extra-curricular organizations and professional societies. She was the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO) on campus, as well as the president of SURF, and secretary for Tau Chi Alpha, the Environmental Engineering Honor Society. She was also member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Society, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and Circle-K, along with serving as a student representative on the Sustainability Committee and the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Student Advisory Council.

Alongside her extra-curricular activities, Gonthier was a CU-Connect mentor to incoming students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and a mentor to high school students taking part in Clarkson’s MythOlympics Science Competition.

She received a Phalanx Commendable Leadership Award, the Keith M. Russ Civil and Environmental Engineering Award, the Charles M. Clark Memorial Award, and the Pfund Presidential Achievement Scholarship.

Upon graduation, Gonthier is pursuing her master’s and Ph.D. in environmental engineering at UC Berkeley. Her research emphasis will be on the use of natural microbial systems in water quality.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University President Tony Collins (left) presents the Frederica Clarkson Award to Emily Gonthier.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/frederica-2016.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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