Amy Quintanilla '22

SERP 2020-21


Engineering a Connection Between Ecological Systems and Public Knowledge for Environmental Conservation

Through the Paulson Water Challenge, I have conducted research on Paramecium Pond, a human-made pond on campus fed by potable water, to better understand how it functions and how it may change over time. Our main objective was to determine what is best practice when transitioning Paramecium Pond to a sustainable and natural water source. This challenge pushed our team to consider a variety of factors including climate change, biodiversity within the pond, and sediment composition of the system. Consequently, we collectively decided that I would build and install a sensor system in the Paramecium Pond system that would collect and record data on how the system’s pH, water level, and ambient and water temperature changes throughout the year. The sensor system would serve as not only a learning tool that would be accessible and coherent to all, but also as institutional knowledge that can be referenced to understand how the system changes and how such changes impact the system’s inhabitants. 
Collaborators/advisors: Dr. Amy Banzaert (Engineering), Dr. Jennifer Yang (Botanic Gardens/Paulson Initiative)