Kimberly Perez, a senior biochemistry major from Brownsville, Texas, represented Buena Vista University among more than 500 attendees from 38 countries during the second International Conference on Algal Biofuels, Biomass, and Bioproducts that was held in San Diego, Calif., June 10-13.
Kimberly’s presentation — entitled “Use of Cladophora spp. to Purify Freshwater Systems and Produce Biodiesel on a Laboratory Scale” — was one of only 200 poster and 90 oral presentations selected among 650 abstract submissions from global research universities. Her research explores methods to purify polluted water with algae and use the same algae to produce biodiesel fuel.
Dr. Melinda Coogan, assistant professor of biology, has been a mentor to Kimberly on this research project and accompanied her on the trip to San Diego. During a breakfast conversation with plenary speaker Mary Rosenthal, executive director of the Algal Biomass Organization, USA, Coogan was told that the acceptance of Kimberly’s abstract was a great honor.
Kimberly also received a summer internship position with the Brownsville (Texas) Public Utilities Board Student Intern program. This competitive program provides college students with a $4,000 summer stipend to explore careers in the utility industry under the guidance of a supervisor and mentor. Kimberly is currently working on an environmental energy project that complements the research she presented in San Diego.