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Harrisburg University of Science and Technology’s culture of inquiry has transformed the University into one of Pennsylvania’s premier Science and Technology research institutions.

Our professors have teamed with students on research that is poised to save animals, clean up polluted waterways, transform skin-graft surgeries, and revolutionize the capability of internet data.

But that’s just four Harrisburg University Breakthroughs.

An insatiable desire to Breakthrough barriers has helped make Harrisburg University the educational, economic development and research engine that it is today.

And we’re just getting started.

We aren’t simply lecturing and transferring information to our students at Harrisburg University. We’re discovering a dazzling array of knowledge that is changing the world.

Mapping the Composition and Characteristics of Acid Mine Drainage in the Swatara Creek Watershed is an HU Breakthrough research project that is poised to save a polluted waterway while giving students invaluable hands-on experience.

A 2016-17 recipient, this project again was awarded a presidential research grant to sustain the study of polluted water bodies within the Swatara Creek watershed.

Last year, the award allowed the University to partner with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and conservationists with the Schuylkill Conservation District to study waterways polluted by anthracite coal operations dating to the mid-1700s.

Led by Professors Albert Sarvis, Catherine Santai, and Christine Proctor, the 2017-18 grant will permit the group to expand the number of field sites being sampled and tested and expand the number of collections and types of analyses performed, including the collection of bioindicators of stream health. It also will fund the creation of a working draft of a story map of the selected region to educate the partners, as well as the public, on the history of pollution in the area, the type of pollution found in the water, landscape changes, work being done to bring the water bodies back to health and the current state of the Swatara Creek watershed.

The Schuylkill Conservation District mentioned during an initial meeting that they have tried to partner with other universities, but the partnership never materialized due to competing goals within the other universities.

This project provides HU students with excellent, real-life, hands-on training with sophisticated analytical instrumentation and shows them how their work contributes to real-life environmental problem-solving.  It also provides HU faculty the opportunity to establish a working relationship with these partners.

The partners have all expressed an interest in continuing to work with Harrisburg University beyond the initial PRG grant period and collaborating to apply for additional larger grant monies to further move forward the data collection and remediation of the acid mine drainage areas in Schuylkill County.

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