Freshwater Collaborative awards UWM nearly $1 million

The Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin has awarded to UWM nearly $1 million in funding for seven projects that will increase research and training opportunities for high school and undergraduate students and will address Wisconsin’s biggest water challenges, including contaminants such as PFAS – perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

The collaborative’s grants to UWM, totaling $994,281, are part of $4.3 million in grants the organization has meted out to UW System universities statewide to fund 22 inter-campus projects for the 2024-25 fiscal years.

Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin logoThe programs will expand summer research programs that allow students to conduct freshwater research at one of the UW System campuses; offer summer programs for high school students to educate them about careers in the water industry; and further university-led research that helps fulfill community and government agency needs for water quality monitoring.

Three UWM-led projects will address PFAS. These “forever chemicals,” which are used in common products, have been found in high levels in drinking water throughout the state and are linked to significant health issues in humans. Another is related to workforce development in aquaculture.

“The most exciting thing about this latest round of funding is seeing how programs are becoming more interconnected,” said Marissa Jablonski, executive director for the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin. “We can really see how these connections are building a pipeline from college recruitment to jobs in freshwater in Wisconsin.”

The Freshwater Collaborative is a statewide initiative, backed by the Wisconsin Legislature, to support curriculum development, career development and field training experiences for students interested in studying water-related fields at the 13 universities in the UW System.

UWM faculty leading these projects include:

  • Melissa Scanlan, director of the Center for Water Policy
  • Yin Wang, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering
  • Shangping Xu, associate professor of geosciences
  • Dong-Fang Deng, professor of freshwater sciences
  • Laodong Guo, professor of freshwater sciences
  • Tracy Boyer, professor of freshwater sciences

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