Adam Uliana receives Oswald leadership award
April 11, 2017
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—The three pillars that include water treatment, education and environmental issues are what fuel chemical engineering senior Adam Uliana, as he was recently recognized by the University for his leadership efforts in those areas. The Schreyer Scholar received Penn State’s John W. Oswald Award for all of his significant and sustainable leadership projects. Established in 1983, the award annually recognizes five graduating seniors who have provided outstanding leadership in at least one of several areas of activity at the University. John W. Oswald was president of the University from 1970 to 1983.
Uliana spent his spring and summer months during his junior year participating in EuroScholars, a program designed to provide motivated undergraduate students from the United States and Canada with international research opportunities. Uliana travelled to KU Leuven in Leuven, Belgium, where he worked with students and researchers from around the world to discover new water treatment methods aimed to protect the environment against emerging chemical containments. His work led to three co-authored journal publications with multiple additional projects nearing completion.
Curriculum-wise, Uliana co-designed a Penn State chemical engineering environmental course with Dr. Stephanie Butler Velegol, senior lecturer of chemical engineering. “The department didn’t have an entire class focused on the environment, so I was really happy to help start that,” he said. Most recently, Uliana is developing along with Penn State’s Sustainability Institute an environmental communications course for next spring.
Uliana is most passionate about his involvement in Penn State Eco-Reps, a university program developed to encourage sustainable behaviors in the residence halls and throughout campus. He co-directed a team of 60 students tasked with implementing a sustainable culture at campus dormitories. For the group, he co-coordinated more than 250 weekly hours of environmental education outreach to teach and motivate dormitory areas with more than 7,000 students combined to develop sustainable lifestyles.
“I’ve done over 3,000 hours of community service throughout my time at Penn State,” said Uliana. “But Eco-Reps meant a lot to me because it focuses on non-technical social issues.”
Specifically, Uliana spearheaded a team of students collaborating with Penn State Housing to develop a regular waste measurement system at Pollock and East Halls on campus. “It was a challenge with labor, but Housing staff has been so supportive” said Uliana. Overall the measurement system reported recycling rate increases by eight percent at Pollock and four percent at East. This meant that students were taking more time to separate their waste and truly appreciate what it meant to be environmentally friendly.
Uliana aspires to become a chemical engineering professor and continue with his water treatment and environmental applications research. He will attend graduate school in the fall.