2005 SJWP US Winner


For Immediate Release
June 18, 2005

Media Contact: Lorraine Loken
(703) 684-2487


Alexandria, VA - Kathryn VanderWeele, of Portland, Oregon has been named the U.S. winner of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP). The 15 year old freshman from Oregon Episcopal School will compete in the most prestigious international competition to recognize students for excellence in water science research. Kathryn studied, "Removal of Arsenic from Drinking Water by Water Hyacinths." Her research was selected from a pool of 46 state SJWP winners at the national competition, coincidently in Portland, Oregon, June 16-18.

"Internationally, arsenic in drinking water is a major public health and environmental issue," explains Dr. Charles Sorber, SJWP nominations chair. "VanderWeele researched a low cost, low tech, highly effective process called phytoremediation, which has world-wide application. She demonstrated the ability of water hyacinths to absorb arsenic in their root stems and bio-mass and determined to which point plants were effective in the reduction.

VanderWeele was awarded $2,500 and an all-expense paid trip to Stockholm, Sweden, where she will compete against more than 30 other countries for the international honor during World Water Week, August 20-27. Her school will receive a $1,000 grant to enhance water environment education made possible through support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office (EPA) of Research and Development. VanderWeele will also be invited to present her research to more than 15,000 water environment professionals at WEF's Technical Exhibition and Conference, next November, in Washington D.C.

The U.S. competition is organized by the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and its member associations, with support from ITT Industries and The Coca-Cola Company. ITT Industries is also the international sponsor. This year's U.S. competition was hosted by the Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association representing Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

"Today's youth are indeed tomorrow's leaders and must be encouraged to pursue water-related careers or risk further erosion of our scarce supply," said Bjorn von Euler, Director of Corporate Communications, ITT Industries. "The SJWP helps meet that objective and is the reason ITT Industries has been a proud sponsor since its inception as an international competition eight years ago."

The winner of the international competition will be chosen based on the quality and relevance of the student's project. HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden will present the award on August 22 during a ceremony held in conjunction with the Stockholm Water Symposium. The laureate will receive a $5,000 scholarship and a crystal sculpture.

Three U.S. finalists were also awarded $500 each. Their schools will also receive $1,000 grants to enhance water environment education, also provided through the support of U.S. EPA. They include:

Daria Zelasko, Chicago, Illinois, for the project "Benevolent Bacteria: Indigenous Bacterial Remediation";
Elizabeth Welsh, Proctor, Minnesota, for the project, "The Use of Barley Straw to Control Algal and Macrophyte Growth on Wild Rice Lake-Pre and Post-Eutrophic Conditions";
Megan Conroy, Export, Pennsylvania, for the project, "Acid Mine Drainage Remediation Year II."

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ITT Industries, Inc. ( supplies advanced technology products and services in key markets including: electronic interconnects and switches; defense communication, opto-electronics, information technology and services; fluid and water management and other industrial products. The company reported 2002 revenues of $4.99 billion.

The Coca-Cola Company ( is the world's largest beverage company and is the leading producer and marketer of soft drinks. Through the world's largest distribution system, consumers in nearly 200 countries enjoy the Company's products at a rate of more than 1 billion servings each day.