Hannah Krohn '17 Receives EPA Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship
The political science major, who is minoring in environmental studies and international studies, has earned a $39,000 grant to support her summer internship at the EPA in Denver, a research project, and her continued education.
Hannah Krohn ‘17 is one of just 34 undergraduate students from across the nation who has earned a prestigious EPA Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowship this year. The GRO Program provides funding to selected college juniors and seniors to help build the next generation of environmental experts. "EPA knows today's students are tomorrow's environmental scientists and engineers who will lead the way in protecting human health and the environment," says EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin.
Krohn’s fellowship includes a $39,500 grant and a summer internship at an EPA facility to work alongside professional engineers and scientists. Krohn will use her money to fund her summer work at the EPA in Denver, Colo., an upcoming research project, and tuition for her last year at the College.
“This fellowship fits in perfectly with my interests and past experience of exploring environmental policy's interplay throughout different levels of government,” says Krohn, who is majoring in political science, with minors in environmental studies and international studies.
Her research project, which she expects to complete by the end of her senior year, is going to focus on the feasibility of implementing an anaerobic digester (AD) in Lower Merion Township and has many positive environmental implications.
"An AD takes organic waste, captures the methane released during the decomposition process, and transforms it into renewable natural gas, which has a variety of end uses," Krohn explains. "The appeal of AD is its ability to capture and utilize the methane as an energy and heating source, instead of letting organic waste decompose in a landfill or compost site, where the released methane will eventually act as a potent greenhouse gas."
Krohn was inspired to pursue this area of interest after collaborating with Energy Vision, a nonprofit that promotes a shift from fossil-fuel dependence to low-carbon, sustainable energy and transportation systems. Anaerobic digestion is only one of the strategies they hope to implement as part of a larger environmental technology revolution. Bryn Mawr College Associate Professor of Geology Don Barber put Krohn in touch with Joanna Underwood (BMC ‘62), who currently serves as a chairwoman of Energy Vision, and this January, Krohn was able to work with the staff, including Matt Tomich '08 and Susie Jiang '18, in person during the Center for Career and Professional Advising’s externship program.
To advance her knowledge of how government action affects environmental policy on a local level, Krohn has chosen to focus her EPA-sponsored summer internship on local wetland mitigation projects around Denver. She is working with the Aquatic Resource Protection and Accountability Unit at the EPA Region 8 headquarters to inquire into the secrets of success of these projects. Not only is learning environmental policy practitioner specifics, but Krohn also believes she is learning vital skills that have a wide range of practical applications beyond the field itself.
“That's one of the wonderful things I love about environmental studies, its boundless scope,” Krohn says. “It can be incorporated into almost all aspects of life and learning. I think the Tri-Co Environmental Studies Program is succeeding at embodying that concept and has been one of my favorite parts of the college experience.”
The EPA GRO Fellowship provides a maximum of $50,000 for up to two years to each student and a summer internship at an EPA facility where students can work alongside EPA’s engineers and scientists. Since its inception in 1981, the GRO Fellowship program has awarded more than $13 million in funding to nearly 400 students.
-Katya Konradova '19