World's Largest Science Society Awards PhD Candidate for Water Research

By:    Brandon Pytel
Date: February 19, 2018

The American Chemical Society recognized Xiaodi Duan with the Graduate Student Award in Environmental Chemistry. Duan researches the removal of contaminants in the water treatment process.

Xiaodi Duan, wearing white lab coat, in her lab.

Xiaodi Duan's work in water research gained her the 2018 Graduate Student Award from the American Chemical Society.

Xiaodi Duan is tackling one of the biggest issues of the 21st Century: creating safe drinking water. Duan, a PhD candidate through the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) environmental engineering program, is researching the removal of contaminants from drinking water and wastewater through ultraviolet (UV) advanced oxidation processes.

This month, the American Chemical Society (ACS) recognized Duan for her strides in the field with the 2018 Graduate Student Award in Environmental Chemistry. The award rewards outstanding graduate students with a yearlong membership in the Division of Environmental Chemistry within ACS, as well as a check for $125.

“It is my great honor to receive this award,” said Duan. “To be recognized by such a prominent society is gratifying.”

The American Chemical Society is the world’s largest science society. Founded over 140 years ago, the ACS’s mission is “to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people. [Their] vision is to improve people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry.”

Duan reflects this vision through her research on water treatment. In addition to her work at UC, Duan is an intern at the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati. Here she studies the treatment efficiency of the UV advanced oxidation process on a large scale.

“It is exciting to see what I studied in the lab can be implemented in the wastewater treatment plant to make the water discharging into the Ohio River cleaner,” said Duan.

Duan is no stranger to awards. She has received the UC Sigma Xi Research Scholarship, Ohio American Water Works Association Student Paper Award, University Summer Research Fellowship and Richard C. Wigger Scholarship. The ACS also awarded her the C. Ellen Gonter Graduate Student Paper Award.

“All of these awards have encouraged me to continue working in this field while building a strong record at UC.”