Bo Cao, a doctoral candidate in environmental engineering at the UH Cullen College of Engineering, won a 2019 Graduate Student Award in Environmental Chemistry from the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS makes up to 20 such awards annually.
Sponsored by ACS’s Division of Environmental Chemistry, the award recognizes promising graduate students working in areas related to environmental chemistry at U.S. educational institutions. Winners are selected based on transcripts and record of research productivity, a brief discussion of the student’s future goals and a letter of recommendation from the faculty advisor.
“I chose to study environmental engineering to help protect our living environment, which is so important for the future wellbeing and happiness of mankind,” Cao said.
His faculty advisor is Yandi Hu, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. “I’m very grateful for her mentoring and support,” Cao said. “Without her efforts in the past four years, I wouldn’t have earned this award.”
The awardees receive a cash prize and membership in the Environmental Division for one year. They are also publicized in the ACS newsletter, EnvirofACS, and the journal Environmental Science and Technology. More importantly, the award recognizes the students’ “potential for future contributions as professionals in environmental chemistry.”
Cao’s research focuses on reducing the mineral scaling during the reverse osmosis filtration process, which is used in seawater desalination. Reduction of the scaling can improve the efficiency of the desalination and lower the cost of producing potable water from seawater.
“This is very important as it can help alleviate water scarcity in the world and help meet the increasing demand for drinking water around the globe,” Cao said.