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National Student Exchange Recognizes Beauto
Minnesota Ag Connection - 04/12/2018

Katie Beauto, class of '18 at the University of Minnesota Morris earned the National Student Exchange Dr. Richard R. Bond Student Achievement Award. At the University of Alaska Southeast Katie analyzed seawater samples for nutrient content and supported projects related to atmospheric mercury. The work reaffirmed Katie's desire to work in environmental research.

The National Student Exchange (NSE) announced recipients of its Student Achievement Awards. These awards recognize students who demonstrate the best use of their study away exchange participation. While priority is given to academic accomplishments, consideration is also given to social welfare service, contribution to the campus or community, and creative use of time while on exchange. The awards are named after former NSE consortium leaders. A $500 stipend is given each award recipient.

In fall 2016 semester Katie began working in University of Alaska Southeast's kelp lab analyzing seawater samples for nutrient content. She found spending time in the lab enjoyable and began searching for other research opportunities on campus. Katie began working with Dr. Sonia Nagorski, assistant professor of geology, as a student researcher to support projects related to atmospheric mercury. Though not knowledgeable about mercury cycling, Katie wanted to learn more and knew that mercury deposition had implications in watersheds back home in Minnesota. She worked on a two-pronged independent research project collecting samples for the national Mercury Deposition Network (MDN) station in Juneau, assessing the precipitation samples after snowstorms.

Katie collected samples from the station using standardized clean techniques and worked in conjunction with the National Park Service to have the samples analyzed in an ultra-clean laboratory. She learned snow sampling techniques and methodologies associated with sampling studies and took part in the entire research process starting with the written proposal and application for funding through installing and servicing of the station, to weekly sample collection and preparatory analysis, and finally to presenting her research to the public. This academic research reaffirmed Katie's desire to work in environmental research.

NSE provides study away opportunities to students enrolled at its 160 member colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Established in 1968, and celebrating its 50 th anniversary year, NSE has provided exchange opportunities to more than 118,000 students. NSE is a study away program that complements university initiatives for globalization, diversity and engagement.

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