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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Nashua student will compete in international water competition

A Nashua High School South student is heading to a clean water competition in Sweden after winning first place at a national event last weekend.

Deepika Kurup will compete in September at the International Stockholm Jr. Water Prize. ...

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A Nashua High School South student is heading to a clean water competition in Sweden after winning first place at a national event last weekend.

Deepika Kurup will compete in September at the International Stockholm Jr. Water Prize.

The SJWP is the world’s top youth award for a water-related science projects that address current and future clean water challenges.

“Ever since elementary school, I’ve been really passionate about solving the clean water problem,” Kurup said. She travels to India every year with her family and has seen the clean water crises first hand. “For the past two years, I have been going to University of Massachusetts Lowell to conduct part of my experiments under the guidance of Professor Ramaswamy Nagarajan.”

At the U.S. SJWP in
Virginia last weekend Kurup placed first out of 54 state winners from 48 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She received a $10,000 scholarship and NHS South will receive a $1,000 grant to go toward water science education.

“It was a lot of fun. I was able to meet competitors from across the country. A lot of it was hanging out and talking about our projects … solving problems with the water,” Kurup said.

She said she had met many of the competitors when she participated in last’s years U.S. SJWP in Portland, Ore., where she placed as a runner up.

In Stockholm, Kurup will to compete against 30 students from around the world. Her project, “A Novel Photocatalytic Pervious Composite for Degrading Organics and Inactivating Bacteria in Wastewater,” illustrates a way to develop a safe, cost-effective and eco-friendly technique for wastewater purification.

Linda Polewarczyk, a chemistry teacher at South, will accompany Kurup on the trip.

“My teacher, Ms. Linda Polewarczyk, has been a constant support in my science research,” Kurup said.

Ahead of the international competition in Stockholm, Kurup has some prepping to do.

“I need to submit my 20 page paper, and I need to make two large posters,” she said.

This summer, Kurup is interning at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland where she’s part of a team working on Parkinson’s disease under Dr. Judith Walters. She said her team uses rats to understand how the disease affects the brain.

Kurup kept busy this past spring, too. In April, she received the 2013 President’s Environmental Youth Award at the Environmental Merit Ceremony in Faneuil Hall in Boston. Kurup said the president and EPA established PEYA to recognize people for protecting the country’s environment. Her clean water project was included because of its sustainability.

Kurup said she first heard about the SJWP from Geraldine Ciardelli of the Nashua Waste Water Treatment Facility who recommended Kurup enter the 2013 national competition.

Kurup will be a junior at South in the fall.

Tina Forbes can be reached at 594-6402 or tforbes@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Forbes on Twitter (@Telegraph_TinaF).