US groundwater gong for PhD student

zijuan-dengFlinders University PhD candidate Zijuan Deng (pictured) is the only Australian in 2012 to win an award from the US-based National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation.

Ms Deng has just received a $750 grant for her paper, Cautions in Using Chloride Mass Balance Method for Groundwater Recharge Estimation in Coastal Areas with Vegetation Changes, which she presented to the National Ground Water Association’s 2012 summit in California last month.

The trip was funded by the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, where Ms Deng is a student.

Awarded in honor of the late Dr Robert Farvolden, former senior science counsel for the National Ground Water Association, the prize for best student paper is judged on the quality of presentations, demonstrated insight into the topic and contribution to groundwater science, management or policy.

Ms Deng, based in the University’s School of the Environment, said the award was a great “confidence boost” to help her continue her PhD research into the interaction between groundwater, vegetation and the atmosphere.

“Although it’s not a big prize it’s a great incentive to continue my research,” Ms Deng said of the accolade, which was also awarded to three other US students.

“Sometimes studying can be frustrating when you encounter challenges so this award is a real encouragement for me.”

Now approaching the final year of her PhD, Ms Deng said she hoped to become a postdoctoral researcher when she finished her studies.

“I’m really interested in vegetation and the role it plays in underground water so I hope in the future I can do something related to the ecology and hydrology of groundwater,” she said.

The National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation is operated by the National Ground Water Association, a US-based non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing groundwater knowledge and advocating for the responsible development, management and use of water.

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