UNH Sophomore Named EPA Fellow, Gets $50,000 in Support
UNH Sophomore Named EPA Fellow, Gets $50,000 in Support

by Karen Grava
Director of Media Relations

Jessica Zielinski, a sophomore from Madison, Conn., has been awarded an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship. An honors student majoring in sustainability studies, she is one of only 40 students from across the United States who will participate in the program. 

The two-year fellowship is highly competitive and provides tuition support, a monthly stipend, equipment, travel funds and a paid internship during the summer at an EPA facility. The fellowship is worth $50,000.

Jessica Zielinski '16

“This award recognizes the outstanding work Ms. Zielinski did during her freshman year,” said Ron Harichandran, dean of the Tagliatela College of Engineering.  “She has demonstrated that she is able to compete on a national level, and we are very proud of her.”

“I am grateful for the opportunity and excited to work with UNH and the EPA on this research in the coming years,” she said. “I think the research I will be involved in during this fellowship will be valuable both as a learning opportunity and as a chance to benefit communities and their environments, both built and natural.”  

Zielinski also worked on a donor-supported summer undergraduate research fellowship over the summer at UNH.  She is studying how the campus community generates and disposes of waste. The waste includes non-recyclable trash as well as recyclables and items that could be reused or donated, especially at the end of the semester when people move out, she said.  Her faculty mentor for the project is Amy Thompson, an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial, System and Multidisciplinary Engineering who also helped her apply for the EPA fellowship.

“By the end of the project, my goal is to launch some projects that will involve other students, staff and faculty in a waste awareness and minimization campaign on campus,” said Zielinski.

On move-in day, she coordinated a team of 10 students to help incoming students recycle corrugated cardboard. She is working with the University’s facilities department to enhance and improve this project next year.

“Jessica found a way to identify a problem, make a plan and engage other students to help solve the problem on campus, which was a great result of her summer research project,” said Thompson.

Zielinski is a member of the UNH Green Team and is a member of the Undergraduate Student Government Association’s sustainability committee. She is an intern with the United Illuminating Clean Energy Communities, which gathers utility data in order to inform local municipalities about energy usage.

After graduation, Zielinski hopes to work in urban planning.

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