UW-Stevens Point receives Freshwater Collaborative grants for water contamination research August 16, 2023 Assistant Professor Seyed Amirfakhri, chemical engineering, is one of the faculty members who will work with students on research aimed at creating cleaner water sources, funded by grants from the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin. Students at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point will take part in pioneering research to tackle the pressing challenges of water contamination, supported by grants from the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin. Together, two grants will bring $165,000 to UW-Stevens Point to fund two research projects that focus on the elimination of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from drinking water, preparing students to address real-world environmental concerns. In one project, UW-Stevens Point is embarking on a collaborative undergraduate research initiative with UW-Milwaukee. This research aims to develop cutting-edge PFAS adsorption technology and test it against water samples contaminated with PFAS. This initiative will provide students with practical experience in PFAS chemistry, analysis, and treatment, positioning them for careers in this emerging field. A second grant funds research in synthesizing graphene oxide (GO) from sustainable sources like walnut shells. In collaboration with UW-Madison, this project investigates GO’s potential to eliminate PFAS. Beyond contributing to cleaner water sources, the initiative offers students from UW-Stevens Point and UW-Madison the opportunity to engage in hands-on research, share findings, collaborate with industry partners, promote STEM education and increase public awareness of PFAS contamination. “These projects highlight UW-Stevens Point’s dedication to advancing research, fostering student growth and engaging with the community,” said Brian Sloss, dean of the College of Natural Resources. “By leveraging its expertise, the university is working towards confronting the critical issue of PFAS contamination.” In addition to these funded projects, UW-Stevens Point is a key collaborator in a broader effort to strengthen the aquaculture workforce in Wisconsin. While not directly funded, this initiative, led by UW-Madison with partners from UW-Stevens Point and UW-Milwaukee, seeks to address the growing demand for fish production and food security. By partnering with commercial fish farms and educational institutions, this endeavor aims to expand student training opportunities across the state. Freshwater Collaborative funding is part of a statewide initiative, backed by the Wisconsin State Legislature and Gov. Tony Evers, to tackle Wisconsin’s water challenges and support curriculum development. For more information on Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin grants, go to freshwater.wisconsin.edu/freshwater-collaborative-funded-projects-2023.