A teacher’s life

Yesterday, we celebrated our wonderful student researchers at the annual Student Scholarship Celebration. Out student research quality is definitely on the rise, and I enjoyed some excellent conversations with both the student researchers and my fellow faculty colleagues.

 

I am especially proud of Maria Trejo, who was designated a Weintz scholar for her proposal to do a 6-week project on building eco-machines and trying to determine whether they may be the “finishing” step we need at our wastewater treatment plants dealing with the nutrients issue.

 

As this was also the last day of classes, I had had an emotional roller coaster of a day with having to say goodbye to the first group of seniors, whom I’ve seen all the way through their four years, since we all started on opposite ends of the table way back in 2011. Then, this morning I saw this picture from yesterday’s event.

Kulkarni-students

Along one side of me stands Anthony Belval, a graduating senior, one of the smartest and kindest students I’ve had the pleasure of teaching; and on the other stands Maria, a freshman civil engineering student, so eager, excited and ready to begin her journey of research and learning. This picture also seems to capture the essence of a teacher’s life. Just as we say the really hard to say goodbyes, knowing how much we will miss our seniors, a new wave of students is already in place, ready to seize the day and continue old projects, and innovate new solutions with their fresh ideas. No wonder, this life never has a dull moment. It is a constantly changing adventure and having the front seat in so many exciting journeys is an incredible experience in and of its own.

On trying so hard, it hurts…

The bottom line is that we did not make it into Phase 2 of EPA’s P3 design competition. We did not even get an honorable mention, even though a whole bunch of people were really complimentary of the concept of our three-tiered pervious concrete filtration system. On one level, the outcome is understandable. The weather delays led to an incompletely tested and validated project, so our results were not conclusive, and there is still a lot of work to be done. On the other hand, I believe our student team represented Norwich in the best possible way, and I couldn’t be any prouder of their presentation to the judges. Each student on the team, joined along at different times of the project cycle, and contributed in different ways, but they all spoke in one voice at the competition.

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The good news is that we still have the support to keep working on the project, and have commitments from the town of Northfield, and ECHO to install our system on their properties during upcoming construction projects, so the Norwich P3 story goes on…