Sarah Donaher
Sarah Donaher Graduate Student (NSF GRFP Fellow, UNC Royster Society Fellow) in Marine Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Clemson University, 2017, B.S. Environmental Engineering

“The GCSP served as the catalyst for my introduction to academic research. I was attracted to the program because it aims to tailor engineering curriculum around global issues rather than isolated disciplines. In exploring my Challenge of interest, Providing Access to Clean Water, I worked in a radiochemistry research lab investigating novel remediation methods of heavy metals and radionuclides in riverine environments. This opportunity helped me develop my ability to work in a lab and also allowed me to form meaningful relationships with graduate students and professors. When working as an intern for Clemson’s Institute of Sustainability, I published my first first-author peer-reviewed paper entitled Review of the Current State of the Grand Challenge Scholars Programs across the United States. Conducting the research for this paper highlighted all the ways that the GCSP benefited students throughout the country and reemphasized to me how important the program was for developing engineers that could thrive in today's world and create solutions to our biggest societal and environmental issues. Through the GCSP and these two research opportunities, I developed the ability to ask interesting research questions and develop my own methods of answering said questions. The GCSP greatly prepared me for graduate school and is a large component of my current success as a graduate student and in obtaining the NSF GRFP.”