LITHIA SPRINGS, GA — Lithia Springs High School S.T.E.M. students are powering with Emory University graduate students to help solve Atlanta’s drinking water concerns. The teams have been collaborating on research to determine how water currents affect bacterial growth and industrial contaminants in the Chattahoochee River. The research centers on the increased presence of the waste materials Naegleria fowleri (‘brain eating’ parasites) and Escherichia coli in the water. This innovative combined research has the potential to affect millions of lives and spark a renewed interest in the way water quality is measured.
Lithia Springs High School nationally certified biomedical instructor Diana Moore and Emory University Associate Professor Dr. Alessandro Veneziani pioneered the partnership between both schools. Lithia Springs students have been responsible for overseeing the collection of samples and data analysis. Throughout the research, students visited both campuses and worked side by side with each other in the laboratory. For Lithia Springs High School biomedical S.T.E.M. students, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. “Emory University is one of the most elite schools and research institutions in America,” says Sandws Ahmady, “I am grateful for this opportunity.” Senior Isabella Edwards agrees the research has a tremendous impact: “The main impact these instructors are having is the advancement of our collaborative learning. It’s a relief to work with people on a different level that can provide a real challenge.”
Lithia Springs High School principal Dr. Garrick Askew is a key member of the highly rated S.T.E.M. team that includes Dr. Robin Simmons, Becky Parker, Candice Cooke, William Walton, and Patrick Krouba. Dr. Askew told team leaders that he is proud of the work happening in the S.T.E.M. biomedical program: “Mrs. Diana Moore is providing real world experiences for our students that will serve them well in the future. This is cutting edge work that our students are very fortunate to be involved in.”
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Near the end of the research program, the team uncovered data that led to a new discovery. Testing calculating the pressure, velocity and contaminants revealed that certain sections of the river contained higher levels of contaminants than others. LSHS biomedical instructor Moore proudly explains that high school student, Samantha Tillery, uncovered an article involving illegal, often hidden pipes found to be responsible for dumping raw sewage into the Chattahoochee River. The enormous amount of sewage is responsible for polluting our common drinking water supply. Through the team’s combined effort, and collaborative research, the Emory/Lithia Springs team hopes to pinpoint where the pipes are located and contribute to the betterment of the community’s water supply.