EPA Recognizes High School Students for Environmental Innovation

PatrickHHurdAward2013Jacquel Caron Rivers and Arne Joi Saguni Nipales win the Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability Award, and will showcase their winning project at the National Sustainable Design Expo in 2014.

Today, EPA recognized the winners of this year’s EPA Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona. Named in honor of EPA employee Patrick H. Hurd who helped establish the award, it recognizes students who demonstrate a commitment to environmental sustainability and stewardship.

Jacquel Caron Rivers and Arne Joi Saguni Nipales, both seniors at Baboquivari High School, Sells, Arizona were named the recipients of the award. Their project, “Total Solar Strategy for the Tohono O’Odham Nation,” uses solar oven technology for storing energy and heating the traditional adobe constructed homes used on the reservation. Rivers and Nipales were picked out of 1,611 student scientists and engineers competing in the fair this week.

“The student finalists of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair are finding innovative approaches to the world’s complex problems,” said Lek Kadeli, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “EPA is proud to recognize a project that is addressing environmental challenges in a more sustainable way.”

The EPA Patrick H. Hurd award funds the winning students (and a chaperone) to participate in and display their project at EPA’s 2014 National Sustainable Design Expo. The Expo features EPA’s P3: People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) Student Design Competition for Sustainability. Held each spring in Washington, DC, the National Sustainable Design Expo brings together P3 students, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and businesses that are working to create a sustainable future.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is the world’s largest pre-college science competition, hosting more than 1,500 high school students from over 70 countries, regions, and territories. Students advance to it from several levels of local and school-sponsored, regional, and state fairs showcasing their independent research. The Society for Science & the Public, a non-profit organization dedicated to public engagement in scientific research and education, founded and runs the fair.


Forget about the blue ribbon and $20 gift certificate for the homemade volcano. These kids were bringing some serious science: biochemistry, electrical and mechanical engineering, environmental management, nuclear and particle physics, cellular and molecular biology, and medicine and health sciences—just to name a few.

–Patrick Hurd wrote in his 2009 blog entry about attending the ISEF,  Science is Cool