Lakes around Washington state are closed to visitors due to toxic algae blooms each summer. Although most blooms are harmless, the Washington State Department of Ecology says toxicity is hard to predict and can put people and animals at risk of getting sick, or even being killed. To mitigate these risks and combat the effects of hazardous blooms, many lakes are treated with aluminum sulfate.
Geology major Colin Glaze ’22 wants to know more about the effects of these treatments. He’s one of 90 Puget Sound students who received funding to complete summer research projects in the sciences and humanities this year. Glaze is working with Professor Jeff Tepper to analyze water and sediment samples from two local lakes that have undergone aluminum sulfate treatment. “I hope it sheds some light on what the true effects of alum are,” says Glaze.
Each summer, dozens of Puget Sound students participate in summer research projects that give them their first real research experiences in the field. All of them receive funding through a rigorous and comprehensive application process that requires them to work with a professor to select a subject that interests them, learn how to write a competitive proposal, and submit the proposal for review by a panel of faculty members.
Once the project is chosen for funding, students receive up to $3,750 to support their research efforts for at least 10 weeks.