OF SPECIAL NOTE
Rocky Mountain Section Awards
2021 Academic Scholarships
The AWWA Scholarship program has awarded seven of its 25 water industry scholarships to students in the Rocky Mountain Section.
Nadia Jorgenson has received the AECOM Scholarship to support her Master of Science in Environmental
Engineering Process, Water Reuse and Reclamation at the University of Colorado, Boulder. While study-ing
for her degree, she plans to take the exam to acquire her Professional Engineer license. Jorgenson is
a first-generation college student from Tunisia and the United States. She is fluent in Arabic, French, and
English, and has diverse research experience in water quality and water reuse. She hopes to apply her skills
and knowledge as a water industry consultant to better understand and overcome the limitations in current
potable reuse operations.
Jorgenson would also like to collaborate with a diverse group of colleagues who have different water treat-ment
and reuse experiences to harness expertise in support of the water industry. She is open to networking
with RMSAWWA professionals and may be reached at email@example.com.
CDM Smith has awarded its 2021 Scholarship to Michael Hernandez, who also attends the University of
Colorado Boulder. Michael is pursuing a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering with an expected
graduation date of May 2022.
You may have already met Michael as an Assistant Engineer with Hazen and Sawyer, a Treatment Intern at
Aurora Water, or while he was working on a plant operations pilot at the Binney Water Purification Facility
in Aurora, Colorado. He says that these experiences solidified his interest in the water industry. He plans to
concentrate on water and wastewater technology innovation to promote sustainability and public health.
Hernandez is a member of ASCE and would like to broaden his network connections within the Rocky
Mountain Section. He can be reached at Michael.Hernandezfirstname.lastname@example.org.
The recipient of the 2021 Larson Aquatics Research Support Scholarship for Doctoral Studies is Duong
Nguyen, who is attending the University of Colorado Boulder for his Ph.D. in Civil, Environmental and
Architectural Engineering. Nguyen is becoming a water researcher because he wants to see everyone receive
safe drinking water from their tap. He is developing a new type of reverse osmosis (RO) across entrapped air
layers inside a hydrophobic membrane called vapor-gap RO. “This technology can be a breakthrough in the
membrane area since it can solve two significant challenges that plagued conventional RO systems for three
decades: low rejections of small uncharged contaminants and poor oxidation resistance. The hydrophobic
membrane I fabricated completely removes harmful small uncharged compounds including boron, urea,
and disinfection by-products such as N-nitrosamines and haloacetonitrile, and shows a stable performance
after cleaning by chlorine and ozone. Thus, my work will alleviate water scarcity with more efficient and
selective RO and lessen the cost and energy consumption for desalination and water reuse facilities by
reducing unnecessary pre- and post-treatment,” he said. Nguyen has volunteered at several local confer-ences
and is interested in meeting more RMSAWWA members. He can be reached at duong.nguyen-1@
Valerie Doebley is a student at Colorado State University (CSU) pursuing a master’s degree in GeoSci-ences
and has been awarded the 2021 Hazen and Sawyer Scholarship. Aside from her studies, Doebley
stays busy as a primary instructor of an Introductory Geology lab course for both in-person and online
instruction at CSU. Doebley’s master’s project is investigating the role of a high elevation valley’s ground-water
in maintaining the flow of the Cache la Poudre River in Northern Colorado. The field set-up includes
two 34-foot deep monitoring wells, four shallow wells, nested piezometers, and two stream gauging sta-tions.
Doebley intends to remain in the Rocky Mountain area as she continues research beyond completing
34 | ROCKY MOUNTAIN WATER JULY-AUGUST 2021