NSF REU Program

Sustainable Management and Beneficial Reuse of Residual Wastes and Byproducts

Project Summary: Wastes and byproducts are ubiquitous materials that affect all members of society. The REU program engages undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty members, and collaborating engineering practitioners on interdisciplinary research related to the sustainable management and beneficial reuse of wastes and byproducts. Fundamental research undertaken as part of the REU program includes waste management, pollution prevention, energy conversion, and beneficial reuse of wastes and byproducts. The program supports ten undergraduates per year for a period of three years. The REU program engages undergraduates on research leading to the discovery of new knowledge, provides mentoring for a diverse research team, promotes graduate study as a future professional goal, and provides instructive and appealing learning components. Extensive time is spent on research and discovery. In addition, specific periods are set aside for structured learning and professional development activities designed to provide the participants with skills, tools, and training essential for success in research. These activities include workshops and seminars on interpersonal communication, research best-practices, ethics, data analysis, project reporting, graduate school expectations, and contemporary issues. As part of the research experience, the participants formulate a hypothesis/set of research objectives, develop a research plan, carry out a research investigation, prepare progress reports using a variety of technology-enriched approaches, present findings to a group of peers and research mentors through a variety of presentation modes, and reflect on achievements. Participant knowledge, skills, and abilities are assessed before, during, and after the research appointments to evaluate the level of achievement of program objectives and student learning outcomes. 

Principal Investigators: Gregg Fiegel, Jim Hanson, and Nazli Yesiller

Funding Agency: National Science Foundation

Publications and Presentations:

Bertoch, M., Yesiller, N. and Hanson, J. L. (2015). "Beneficial Reuse of Waste Insulation Material in Drilling Applications," Proceedings, IFCEE 2015. (accepted for publication).

Cox, J.T., Hanson, J.L., Yesiller, N., Clarin, J. and Noce, D.E., (2014). "Optimization of compaction procedures and waste placement operations at MSW landfills," 2014 Global Waste Management Symposium, Penton Media, 1-4.

El Badawy, A., Kopp, K.B., Hanson, J.L., Yesiller, N., and Fiegel, G.L., (2015). "Assessment of communication skills during an NSF REU program related to sustainable management of wastes and byproducts," 2015 ASEE Annual Conference, in review.

Fiegel, G.L., Hanson, J.A., and Yesiller, N. (2014). "Experience Developing and Implementing an NSF REU Site on Sustainable Management and Beneficial Reuse of Residual Wastes and Byproducts."  Proceedings, American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference and Exposition. Paper ID #9957, Indianapolis, June.

Hanson, J. L., Fiegel, G. L., and Yesiller, N. (2013). "REU Site: Sustainable Management and Beneficial Reuse of Residual Wastes and Byproducts," Poster Presentation and Conference Proceedings, CUR Conference on Research Experiences for Undergraduates, Arlington, VA.

Hanson, J.L., Fiegel, G.L., and Yesiller, N., (2014). "Assessment of communication skills during the REU Program at Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo,"” Poster Presentation and Proceedings, CUR Conference on Research Experiences for Undergraduates, Arlington, VA.

Hanson, J. L., Flores, A. S., Yesiller, N., and Manheim, D. C. (2015). "Temperature Effects on Interface Shear Strength between Sand and Steel," Proceedings, IFCEE 2015. (accepted for publication).

Kopp, K. B., Hanson, J. L., Yesiller, N., and Onnen, M. (2013). "Numerical Model to Simulate Feasibility of Heat Extraction from a Municipal Solid Waste Landfill," Poster Presentation and Conference Proceedings, CUR Conference on Research Experiences for Undergraduates, Arlington, VA.

Lundquist, T., Fresco, E., et al. (2014).  "Water and Nutrient Recycling in Algae Biofuels," Annual Research Report, US DOE Office of Bioenergy Technologies, April.

Poltorak, M. , Nelson, Y., Curto, M., Koivunen, A., and Roberts, R. (2014). "Potential for Phytoremediation of Soil Contaminated with Petroleum Hydrocarbons, PAHs, PCBs, Dioxins/Furans, and Metals at the former Energy Technology Engineering Center." Presented at the 9th International Conference on Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounts, Monterey, California, May.

Yee, E., Yesiller, N., and Hanson, J.L., (2014). "Heat generation in mining and municipal solid waste," Poster Presentation and Proceedings, CUR Conference on Research Experiences for Undergraduates, Arlington, VA.

Yesiller, N., Hanson, J. L., Cox, J. T., and Noce, D. E. (2014). "Determination of Specific Gravity of Municipal Solid Waste," Waste Management, Elsevier. 34(5), 848-858.

Yesiller, N., Risken, J. L., Hanson, J. L., and Darrius, J. B. (2014). "“Effects of Hydration Fluid on Moisture-Suction Relationships for Geosynthetic Clay Liners," Proceedings, Unsaturated Soils: Research and Applications, Vol. 2, CRC Press, 1023-1029.

Project Photos