The Michigan Engineer News Center

PhD Student Cassandra Champagne Receives EREF Scholarship Award

PhD student receives scholarship for work in waste management and engineering.| Short Read

PhD student Cassandra Champagne has been selected by the Environmental Research and Education Foundation (EREF) to receive the Fiessinger Doctoral Scholarship.

This scholarship recognizes one doctoral student each year working at the forefront of the waste management and engineering field. The winner is selected from an international pool of applicants.

EnlargeCassandra Champagne portrait
IMAGE:  Cassandra Champagne

Champagne’s research centers on sustainability and resiliency in the geoenvironmental engineering field and the solid waste industry. This scholarship will support her research on improving the quality and efficiency of landfill monitoring using autonomous robotics technology. Robots and drones equipped with optical cameras, infrared cameras and gas sensors ca be deployed at landfills to generate 3D models for slope stability and settlement analyses, and to generate spatially resolved methane concentration maps for emissions estimations and “hotspot” detection.

Methane is 23 times more reactive in the ozone than carbon dioxide, so locating gas leaks and minimizing the amount of methane released into the environment can have a positive impact on global warming. Apart from being an environmental concern, methane release into the atmosphere also represents lost energy and, therefore, lost profits. With her research, Champagne hopes to help push the solid waste industry toward bioreactor landfills, which maximize methane production for energy generation, thus transforming solid waste from a byproduct to a continuous energy source, while also diverting harmful methane emissions from the ozone.

Champagne is advised by Associate Professor Dimitrios Zekkos.

Cassandra Champagne portrait
Jessica Petras


Jessica Petras
Marketing Communications Specialist

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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GG Brown 2105E

The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

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