Independent Research Project as an Integral Part of Geology Courses Provides Undergraduates the Opportunity to Solve Real World Problems

Document Type

Poster Session

Presentation Date


Conference Name

2014 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting

Conference Location

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Source of Publication

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs.

Publication Date






Inclusive pages



Undergraduate students provide valuable information that could be useful in solving water and environmental problems. Over the years, undergraduate students at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) have conducted independent research projects that have helped to address some water related problems in the campus, city, and in NE Indiana. Hydrogeology, Environmental Geology, Understanding Wetlands, and Environmental Conservation courses offered at IPFW, provide avenues for undergraduate students to conduct independent research projects. Here, we provide a brief description of one of such research projects that has proven useful in solving a water-related problem along with a list of other projects deemed useful in solving water related issues.

A water quality assessment of a distribution system in a Mid-western city, Fort Wayne, was undertaken to determine the water chemistry within the metropolitan area. For the study, the city was divided into four quadrants and 36 water samples were collected along the distribution system. The waters were tested for pH, temperature, chlorine, nitrite, nitrate, and dissolved oxygen. Eighty five percent of the 36 samples are below the US EPA water standard recommendations. However, 5% of the samples failed to meet the recommended standards and 10% of the samples are within the recommended standards. The results showed that the SW quadrant had some issues as the area appears to have had several leaks or breaks in the distribution system. The city has embarked on repairing, fixing, or replacing some of the old pipes. Other students research projects that are beneficial included looking at water quality issues in wetlands and rivers; the effect of construction on nearby wetlands and the soil characteristic in natural and anthropogenic wetlands. Undergraduates should be involved in research projects that could provide solutions to water and environmental issues through the “research component” of regular course.


Earth Sciences