University of Colorado at Boulder
Angela R. Bielefeldt, Ph.D., P.E. 

REU Site in Environmental Sustainability

Thank you for your interest in our REU program.

If you would like information for summer 2014 or beyond, please link to our new website HERE.

The information below is for historical reference only.

The goals of this ten-week summer REU Site at the University of Colorado are to provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to conduct research in the area of Environmental Sustainability, emphasizing multimedia approaches (air, water, soil), while training them in experimental design, data collection, and data interpretation. A seminar series will foster group discussions of societal issues in Environmental Sustainability, ethics, and policy. Students will also participate in tours of local research facilities (like NREL, NOAA, NIST, USGS). Students will be recruited from disciplines inside and outside engineering and at least fifty percent of the participants will be from colleges and universities where research opportunities in STEM are limited. Participants will experience gains in knowledge, skills, attitudes, and identity that will foster their success in future research and/or professional settings.

Specific projects available for summer 2013 are described at the link below, although some may still be added. Link to summer 2013 project descriptions.

Students will write a research proposal and final project report, and give an oral presentation at the REU Research Syposium at the end of the summer. There will be a cohort of 9 REU participants in summer 2013.

The 10-week program runs from June 3 through August 9, 2013. Students are provided with a $5000 stipend, up to $500 for travel, and room and board at the CU dormitories on campus.

If you are interested in participating, you must fill out the application packet in its entirety and email the information as an attachment to:
The subject line of your email must state: REU Environmental Sustainability
Official transcripts and 2 reference letters must also be submitted; see details in the application packet.

We will begin reviewing applications on March 15, 2013, so you will optimize your chances of being selected if your application is received before this date.

Download the 2013 Application Packet. PDF version  or MS Word version
Download the 2013 Reference Letter form. MS Word version

Eligibility: You must be an undergraduate student enrolled in a degree program (part-time or full-time) leading to a baccalaureate or associate degree. Students who are transferring from one university to another and are enrolled at neither institution during the intervening summer may participate. High school graduates who have been accepted at an undergraduate institution but who have not yet started their undergraduate study are also eligible to participate. Students who will have received their bachelor's degrees prior to the start of the program are not eligible to participate.
Per the NSF guidelines, to be eligible to participate you must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its possessions.

Our program encourages a broad diversity of students interested in environmental engineering related topics to apply. Students majoring in Environmental, Civil, Chemical, Biological, and Mechanical Engineering; and Environmental Science, Chemistry, Geology, and Physics have skills that are compatible with the research requirements of our projects. Students without access to research opportunities at their undergraduate institution are particularly encouraged to apply. We also hope our program will help expand the representation of minorities and women in engineering and science fields.

Lupita Montoya, director 2013-2015    Health effects of aerosols; indoor air quality and exposure; sustainability.

Angela Bielefeldt, co-PI 2013-2015; director 2006-2008 and 2010-2012     Bioremediation of water, soil, and air.

Paul Chinowsky    Mortenson Professor of Sustainable Development, Civil Systems

Mike Hannigan    Air pollution.

Mark Hernandez    Environmental microbiology, bioaerosols, acid mine drainage.

Karl Linden    Water treatment, UV disinfection, oxidation, water reuse.

Diane McKnight     Stream ecology and hydrology, biogeochemistry.

Jana Milford    Atmospheric chemistry and transport modeling, air pollution, environmental law.

Shelly Miller     Indoor air pollution.

Roseanna Neupauer    Groundwater flow and transport modeling.

Balaji Rajagopalan    Hydrology and Hydroclimatology.

Hari Rajaram    Fluid mechanics and transport modeling in environmental and geological systems.

Fernando Rosario-Ortiz, co-PI 2010-2012     Water treatment, water disinfection, natural organic matter, water reuse.

Joe Ryan    
     Contaminant fate and transport in natural waters.
      Article highlighting Prof. Ryan's AMD work

JoAnn Silverstein, director 2000-2004,     Biological process engineering in water and soils.

R. Scott Summers    Drinking water treatment.

If you have questions about specific research projects, please contact the faculty directly by phone or email.
Current contact information is available on each professor's individual websites, linked above.

REU Site in Environmental Engineering

The Environmental Engineering REU site at the University of Colorado - Boulder gives undergraduate students an opportunity to conduct an independent research project in the areas of water quality and treatment, air quality monitoring and control, acid mine drainage, ecological impacts of pollution, water resources, and the impacts of climate variability.

In addition to working with faculty and graduate student mentors on a research project, the program also includes:
  • professional development in preparation for future graduate studies, presentations and group discussions on societal issues in environmental engineering, including ethics, sustainability, and policy
  • group tours of local governmental research laboratories and natural environmental wonders in Colorado

Students will write a research proposal and final project report, and give an oral presentation at the REU Research Syposium at the end of the summer. The cohort was 10-11 REU participants each summer.

During the 10-week program students were provided with a $5000 stipend, up to $500 for travel, and room and board at the CU dormitories on campus.

Students could also apply to receive up to $500 (on a competitive basis) to present their research at a professional conference. Conference examples include: SACNAS; the American Geophysical Union (AGU); the American Water Works Association (AWWA); etc.

Students may also want to consider submitting a manuscript on their research to the Journal of Young Investigators, the premier undergraduate, peer-reviewed science journal. Students may also be involved with their mentors after the summer to prepare manuscripts for submission to other peer-reviewed journals.

** We received over 180 applicants for summer 2012. **

  • Rylee Archuleta (Mentor: Prof. Diane McKnight; home university: University of Portland) Effects of nutrient enrichment and earlier loss of ice-cover on algal growth and water quality in alpine lakes
  • Andrea Berlinghof (Mentor: Prof. Karl Linden; home university: Johns Hopkins) Protecting Public Health: Innovative Water Treatment with UV Radiation
  • Daniel Birdsell (Mentor: Prof. Hari Rajaram; home university: University of New Mexico) Water Balance Methods for Estimation of RET
  • Jennifer Detlor (Mentor: Prof. Jana Milford; home university: University of Wisconsin - Madison) Life Cycle Assessment of Transportation Fuels Used in Colorado
  • Luis Escobedo (Mentor: Prof. Lupita Montoya; home university: Baylor University) Combustion and Biological Components of Indoor Air PM in Poor Communities
  • Michelle Hummel (Mentor: Prof. Joseph Ryan; home university: Case Western Reserve University) Effects of Fire on Mercury Release from Soil
  • Michelle Ly (Mentor: Prof. Shelly Miller; home university: Worcester Polytechnic University) Asthma Incidence and the Role of Exposure to Contaminants in the Indoor Environment
  • Middleton, Kelsi (Mentors: Profs. Jana Milford and Mike Hannigan; home university: Colorado Mesa University) Development of an Air Pollution Monitoring Device
  • Eli Townsend (Mentor: Prof. Fernando Rosario-Ortiz; home university: University of Colorado) Photochemistry of organic matter in surface waters
  • Ileana Wald (Mentor: Prof. Angela Bielefeldt and R. Scott Summers; home university: University of South Florida) Point-of-Use Ceramic Water Filters
  • Brie Webber (Mentor: Prof. Roseanna Neupauer; home university: Montana State University) Engineering Injection and Extraction to Enhance Mixing to Promote In Situ Remediation of Groundwater

  • Kate Dowdell (Mentor: R. Scott Summers; home university: CU) Attenuation of Micropollutants in Biological Drinking Water Filters; presentation slides
  • Diedre Ericson (Mentors: Jana Milford and Shelly Miller; home university: Univ of Massachusetts Amherst) Ozone exposure of older low-income adults living in urban neighborhoods; presentation slides
  • Aida Guido (Mentor: Diane McKnight; home university: Cal State Polytechnic U - Pomona) Rocky Mountain Algae and a FlowCAM; presentation slides
  • Wilmarie Marrero (Mentor: Mark Hernandez; home university: Univ of Puerto Rico) Determination of carohydrates, phopholipids, and proteins associated with bioaerosols in Boulder, CO; presentation slides
  • Christian McGuire (Mentor: Karl Linden; home university: Univ of Arkansas Fayetteville) Nucleic acid repair in coliphages after UV disinfection; presentation slides
  • Jennifer Moutinho (Mentor: Fernando Rosario-Ortiz; home university: Worcester Polytechnic Institute) Characterization of NOM removal via coagulation using fluorescence spectroscopy; presentation
  • Chelsea Ottenfeld (Mentor: Joseph Ryan; home university: Tennessee Tech Univ) Effects of fire on the release of Mercury from forest soils; presentation slides
  • Sydney Stewart (Mentors: Angela Bielefeldt and R. Scott Summers; home university: Montana State Univ) Effect of flow rate and silver on disinfection by Ceramic Water Filters; presentation slides
  • Travis Tasker (Mentor: JoAnn Silverstein; home university: Allegheny College) Unsaturated flow and rock characteristics in experimental acid mine drainage tanks; presentation slides
  • Alex Archuleta (Mentor: Lupita Montoya; home university: CU) Formaldehyde transport from porous solid-sorbent media to hydroponic growth media; presentation slides
    Presentations and Publications
  • Jennifer Moutinho, Fernando Rosario-Ortiz, Julie Korak. 2011. Characterization of Natural Organic Matter Removal During Coagulation Using Fluorescence Spectroscopy. SACNAS National Conference. Oct. 27-30. Sand Jose, CA.
  • Wilmarie Marrero-Ortiz , University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras ; Mark Hernandez, PhD , Professor , University of Colorado Boulder ; Alina Handorean. 2011. Determination of Carbohydrate Concentrations Associated with Atmospheric Particulate Matter in Boulder, CO. SACNAS National Conference. Oct. 27-30. Sand Jose, CA.
  • Aida Guido, Deena Garland, Diane McKnight. 2011. How climate changes in the Rocky Mountains contribute to changes in an alpine lake's phytoplankton community. AGU Fall Meeting. Dec. 25-27, San Francisco, CA.
  • R. Scott Summers, Tom Zearley, K. Meyer, S. Chae, Kate Dowdell. 2011. Biological Drinking Water Treatment Overview. WaterRF Tech Talks. Denver, CO. July 28.
  • Katherine Dowdell, Tom Zearley, R. Scott Summers. 2011. Micropollutant Biodegradation and Adsorption in Biologically Active Drinking WAter Filters with Granular Activated Carbon. Water Quality Technology Conference & Exposition. Nov. 13-17, Phoenix, AZ.
  • Wilmarie Marrero-Ortiz. Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. Nov. 9-12, St. Louis, MO. Poster Award (

  • Garrett McKay (Mentor: Fernando Rosario-Ortiz; home university: U Cal Los Angeles) Determination of activation energies for the reactrion between effluent organic matter and hydroxy radicals as a function of molecular weight
  • Andrea Yarberry (Mentor: Roseanna Neupauer/Balaji Rajagopalan; home university: Humboldt State Univ) Conditioned backward probability modeling to identify contamination sources in a water distribution system: development of methodology to characterize other source characteristics.
  • Cary Ellmers (Mentor: Diane McKnight; home university: SUNY ESF) Water Quality Effects of Algal Gorwth in Reservoirs
  • Mary Elise Bingham (Mentor: Joe Ryan; home university: Colorado School of Mines) Release of trace elements from smelter slag in the upper Columbia River under anoxic conditions.
  • Daniela Castenada (Mentors: Mark Hernandez, Megan Howard; home university: CU) Bioaerosol Characterization of Indoor and Ambient Air for Aerosolization of Measeles Vaccine
  • Lauren Gardenswartz (Mentors: Mike Hannigan and Jana Milford; home university: CU) Sources, Composition, and Health Effects of Coarse Particulate Matter
  • Erin Kunik (Mentor: Karl Linden; home university: U Wisconsin Madison) Development of an off-grid power system for the UV-Can point-of-use water disinfection device
  • Rebecca Lyman (Mentors: Jana Milford and Mike Hannigan; home university: U California - Berkeley) Mid-term evaluation of the effectiveness of installed cankcase filters and diesel oxidation catalysts for the reduction of exposure withnin school bus cabins.
  • Tamara Relph (Mentors: Angela Bielefeldt; R. Scott Summers; home university: CU) Removal of Bacteria, Viruses, Arsenic, Fluoride, and Nitrate by an Enhanced Point-of-Use Ceramic Water Filter
    Presentations and Publications
  • Relph, Tami. 2010. Removal of pathogens in ceramic water filters and enhanced ceramic water filters. SACNAS National Conference. Sept 30-Oct 3. Anaheim, CA. Winner of the Department of Energy (DOE)/National Society of Hispanic Physicists (NSHP) Award for outstanding Research Presentation based on her poster.
  • Yarberry, Andrea; B. Rajagopalan, JR Prairie. 2010. Colorado River Water Availability Assessment Under Climate Variability. AGU 2010 Fall Meeting. Paper H12D-02. Dec. 13-17, San Francisco, CAConference Program
  • McKay, G. J.L. Kleinman, S.P. Mezyk, M.M. Dong, and F. Rosario-Ortiz. 2011. Temperature dependence of the kinetics reaciton between hydroxyl radical and organic matter. Fourth IWA Specialty Conference on Organic Matter. July 27-29, Costa Mesa, CA.
  • McKay, G., M.Dong, J.L. Kleinman, S.P. Mezyk, F. Rosario-Ortiz. 2011. Temperature dependence of the reaction between the hydroxyl radical and organic matter. Enviornmental Science & Technology. 45 (16), 6932-6937.

  • Melissa Merrill (Mentor: Balaji Rajagopalan; home university: Univ of Akron) Risk Assessment of Indian Monsoon Climate for Agriculture Drought Impact Planning; presentation
  • Austa Parker (Mentor: R. Scott Summers; home university: Clemson Univ) GAC Sorption Interactions of Micropollutants; presentation
  • Jacqueline Stroncek (Mentor: JoAnn Silverstein; home university: Cornell Univ) Modeling Intervention to Prevent AMD: Biokinetics of Acidphilic Heterotrophic Bacteria; presentation
  • Katelyn Gerecht (Mentor: Diane McKnight; home university: Smith College) Kinematic Wave Modeling in Antarctic Streams; ; presentation
  • Emily Sheehan (Mentor: Mark Hernandez; home university: CU) Diverse Microbial Methods to Characterize the Effect of an Indoor Waterfall on Bioaerosols
  • Shoshana Blank (Mentor: Mike Hannigan; home university: St. Olaf College) Analysis of Denver Aerosol (DASH) PM2.5 Composition for Inorganic Ions; presentation
  • Travis Doom (Mentor: Karl Linden; home university: Arizona State Univ) UV-Photochemical Oxidation of Emerging Contaminants; presentation
  • Adam Caldwell (Mentor: Angela Bielefeldt; home university: Gannon Univ) Permanganate Oxidation of NDMA; presentation
  • Anna Edwards (Mentor: Jana Milford; home university: Beloit College) Modeling Air Pollution Effects of Electric Hybrid Vehicles; presentation
  • Simon Schreier (Mentors: Angela Bielefeldt; R. Scott Summers; home university: Brandeis Univ) Removal of Virus, Bacteria, and Protozoan Sized Surrogates by the Filtron Point-of-Use Water Filter; presentation
    Presentations and Publications
  • Rajagopalan, B., A. Verdin, M. Merrill, K. Krishna Kumar, R. Nemani. 2009. Sub-annual Variability of Indian Monsoon Rainfall. AGU Fall meeting, San Francisco, CA, Dec 14-18.
  • Doom, T.R., C.J. Corwin, K.G. Linden, Scott Summers. 2008. UV-H2O2 advanced oxidation processes (APOs) utilized in water treatment. Argonne National Laboratory Undergraduate Research Symposium. Nov. 6-8. Chicago, IL.
  • Bielefeldt, A.R., K. Kowalski, A. Kohler, C. Schilling, S. Schreier, and R. Scott Summers. 2010. Removal of Virus to Protozoan Sized Particles in Point-of-Use Ceramic Water Filters. Water Research. 44 (5): 1482-1488. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2009.10.043

  • Cameron Bracken (Mentor: Balaji Rajagopalan; home university: Humboldt State U) A Multi-Site Streamflow Forecast Framework: Application to the Upper Colorado River Basin
  • Janet Cardenas (Mentor: R. Scott Summers; home university: Univ of Florida) GAC Sorption of MTBE: Effect of Backwashing; abstract
  • Matt Coggon (Mentor: JoAnn Silverstein; home university: Univ of Massachusetts Amherts) Chemical Oxidation of Pyrite by Fe(III): Rate Analysis and Investigation of Product Inhibition by Fe(II); abstract
  • Caitlin Cox (Mentor: Diane McKnight; home university: Univ of North Carolina Chapel Hill) Copper Binding Depending on Source and Chemical Quality of DOM in the Colorado Front Range; abstract
  • Garland Deshazer (Mentors: Mark Hernandez; Paul Rota and Azaibi Tamin at CDC-Atlanta; home university: Emory Univ) Fusion Inhibition Assays: Validation of a BSL-2 Diagnostic Method for Nipah Virus Infection; abstract
  • Jessica Garcia (Mentor: Mike Hannigan; home university: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo) Organic Contaminants in Denver Aerosols; abstract
  • Katherine Jones (Mentor: Joe Ryan; home university: Arizona State Univ) Acid Mine Drainage Metal and Colloid Attenuation by Hyporheic Zone Sediment; abstract
  • Stacey Louie (Mentor: Mike Hannigan; home university: Univ of Texas - Austin) Analysis of DASH PM2.5 Compositions for Inorganic Ions; abstract
  • Andy Schauf (Mentor: John Pellegrino; home university: Wichita State U) Membrane-Assisted Solar Distillation; abstract
  • Cherylynn Schilling (Mentors: Angela Bielefeldt; R. Scott Summers; home university: Southern Illinois Univ) Removal of Virus and Bacteria Sized Surrogates by the Filtron Point-of-Use Water Filter; presentation
    Presentations and Publications
  • Corwin, Christopher J., Janet Cardenas, and R. Scott Summers. 2008. Micropollutant Control by Activated Carbon Adsorbers: Effect of Backwashing and Pulse Loading. American Water Works Association (AWWA) Annual Conference and Exposition. June 8-12.
  • Bracken, Cameron and Balaji Rajagopalan. 2007. "A Multi-Site Streamflow Forecast Framework: Application to the Upper Colorado River Basin" American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference. San Francisco. Dec. 10-14.
  • Cox, Caitlin, and Diane McKnight. 2007. Copper Binding Depending on Source and Chemical Quality of DOM in the Colorado Front Range. session #: B11A-0067. American Geophysical Union (AGU) fall meeting. San Francisco. Dec. 10-14.
  • Dutton, SJ, Williams, DE, Garcia, JK, Vedal, S, Hannigan, MP. 2009. PM2.5 characterization for time series studies: organic molecular marker speciation methods and daily measurements in Denver. Atmospheric Environment, 43 (12), 2018-2030.

  • Hallie Bevan (Mentor: Joe Ryan; home university: CU) Effects of Acid Mine Drainage on Metals Concentrations in the Waters of Coal Creek
  • Frannie Bui (Mentor: Joe Ryan; home university: Drexel) Sources and Effects of Acid Mine Drainage by Sediment Sampling from Coal Creek
  • Scarlett Graham (Mentor: Joe Ryan; home university: Allegheny College) Metal Content of Macroinvertebrates from Coal Creek; presentation
  • Steve Barr (Mentor: Angela Bielefeldt; home university: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo) - Chromium Bioremediation of Soil under Sulfate-Reducing Conditions; presentation
  • Shannon Simons (Mentor: Shelly Miller; home university: Colorado School of Mines) Indoor Air Quality in Hispanic Immigrant Housing in Commerce City, CO; presentation
  • MaryBeth Oshnack (Mentor: Mike Hannigan; home university: Univ of Pittsburgh) A Source-Oriented Approach to Health Effects of Air Pollution
  • Laura Condon (Mentor: Balaji Rajagopalan; home university: Colubmia Univ) The Connection between Large Scale Climate Factors, Water Quantity, and Water Quality in the South Platte River Basin
  • Aditi Bhaskar (Mentor: Roseanna Neupauer; home university: Brown Univ) Verification of Travel Time Probability Density Functions for Sorbing Solutes in Groundwater; presentation
  • Melissa Mora (Mentor: Diane McKnight; home university: CU) Classification of Cyanobacteria species in Algal Mats from Antarctica
  • Alicia Greene (Mentor: Diane McKnight; home university: Kansas State Univ) Growth of Didymo in Regulated Streams below the Colorado Front Range; presentation

    Presentations and Publications
  • Barr, Stephen C. and A. R. Bielefeldt. 2007. Hexavalent Chromium Biotransformation Mechanism that Predominates in Soil under Sulfate-Reducing Bacterial (SRB) Activity 17th Annual AEHS West Coast Conference on Soil, Sediments, and Water. Poster. San Diego, CA. March 19-22.
  • Greene, A., K. Vietti, D. McKnight, M. Miller. 2007. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) Aquatic Sciences Meeting, Feb. 4-9, Santa Fe, NM.
  • Bhaskar, A. and R. Neupauer. 2006. Verification of travel time probability density-functions for sorbing solutes in groundwater. Paper 26-14. Geological Society of America, Annual Meeting. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Oct 22-25.
  • Neupauer, R.M., J.L. Wilson, and A. Bhaskar, 2009. Forward and backward temporal probability distributions of sorbed phase solutes in groundwater, Water Resources Research, 45, W01420, doi:10.1029/2008WR007058.
  • Miller M, McKnight D, Cullis J, Greene A, Vietti K, Liptzin D. Factors controlling streambed coverage of Didymosphenia geminata in two regulated streams in the Colorado Front Range. Hydrobiologia [serial online]. September 2009;630(1), 207-218.

    See a description of previous projects and pictures of student activities from the Environmental Engineering REU site from 2000 to 2004.

    Sigma Xi "The Responsible Researcher"

    ORI "Introduction to Responsible Conduct of Research

    National Academy Press "On Being a Scientist"

    This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EEC-1263385 REU Site in Environmental Sustainability (2013-2015); #1004122 REU Site in Environmental Engineering (2010-2012), and #0552895 for the REU Site in Environmental Fluids (2006-2008).
    Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).