Greater Allegheny professor awarded grant for research with Monash University

MCKEESPORT, Pa. — Alandra Kahl has been approved for a $20,000 grant to help her conduct research with Monash University in Melbourne Australia.

“This grant is part of a larger partnership between Penn State and Monash University in Melbourne Australia,” said Kahl, assistant teaching professor of engineering at Penn State Greater Allegheny. “It is meant to help seed research linkages between the two universities as well as to provide support for grant-writing for larger scale expansion of this project via NSF (National Science Foundation) or other funding.”

The grant will aid Kahl with her research of the water in Pennsylvania and Australia, by helping her develop small-scale water sensors that will be used to monitor water-quality parameters such as temperature, conductivity and turbidity.

“We intend to spread these throughout waterways in Pennsylvania and Australia to monitor water quality in smaller waterways that are often not monitored,” stated Kahl. “This can help build a network to track stormwater pollution, fracking impacts and other events using comprehensive data tools and monitoring.”

Kahl has high expectations for this project, hoping it will expand our understanding of pollution point sources in the environment as well as in different ecosystems.

“Since these sensors are so low cost, we are connecting with schools and citizen-science groups to build and deploy them,” said Kahl. “Monitoring water quality at the backyard level is the next step in using big data to track environmental influences.”

This grant also provides an educational experience for students at the Penn State Greater Allegheny campus. 

“Students will be able to take part in our research through undergraduate research projects as well as participating in the sensor building and deployment,” stated Kahl. “The partnership is a fantastic opportunity to build student and faculty linkages between Monash and Penn State for other projects as well.”

This research continues the dedication of Penn State’s strategic commitment to enhancing health and stewarding our planet’s resources.