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Approved Student Projects 2019

Bioethanol Process Modeling and Design – Leslie Lopez
The problem with the current production of bioethanol was to obtain the sugar required for fermentation. Crops are grown for the sole purpose of bioethanol production which causes deforestation and biodiversity loss. Another problem is that these crops are food that people could be eating thus, creating competition between food and energy. Leslie tested alternative sources of bioethanol to determine which are most effective. She used fruit peels for her project for which she is planning on connecting with Canino Food Market to obtain their fruit waste.

Bioethanol Production Using Bioreactor – Jonathan Lopez
Jonathan's project seeked to address the issue of modern sustainability and the challenges of wasted foods in the world commercially and residentially. He worked with Leslie on making biofuels using wasted biomass (fruit peels or wasted fruits) on a fully automated bioreactor. This project also involved interacting with other student from other science majors and served as a learning opportunity for the semesters to come.

 Better City Planning and Sustainability – Zeenat Qadir

Zeenat researched better city planning strategies that can improve public transportation systems in Houston. She researched how to improve this system by conducting surveys, by visiting Houston City planning offices located in downtown Houston, and linking the planning of the City of Houston to that of the University of Houston-Downtown parking system. This will allow the buses to park close to UHD spacious areas, which will facilitate the students with public transport without having to bring cars to campus. The problems associated with city planning that UHD faces is parking and long-distance walking to campus buildings.

Boys and Girls of Zyon – Lakisha Johnson
The Boys and Girls of Zyon is a program for low-income children and adults who help teach them about reducing the obesity rate in the Aldine area. The program provides classes and seminars on gardening, recycling, and teaches the family healthy habits. Each class and seminar will provide different avenues of living a healthy lifestyle on a budget and provide the benefits of having a sustainable lifestyle. The kids will also visit a community garden to learn about growing food.

 Evaluating the Effectiveness of Two Different Composting Methods to Reduce School Generated Waste – Leo Hernandez
The goal of this project was to reduce the amount of waste generated by the school by recycling decomposable waste. Two methods of composting, bokashi and regular, determine if one method is more efficient in yielding greater amounts of finished compost.

 Houston Greenhouse Initiative – Samantha Arredondo
Samantha is a feasibility study for implementing a large scale greenhouse system for the greater Houston population. For the study, the greenhouses in Almeria, Spain is taken as a reference, and available data regarding logistics and output of the greenhouses will be collected which will be analyzed and converted to Houston's area and population to determine if this will work in Houston.

Prairie Conservation and University Partnerships – Elizabeth Salas & Leo Hernandez
The goal of this project was to maintain restoration and conservation of the pocket prairie located at UHD by creating prairie partnerships with committed students from other Houston universities and hosting volunteer opportunities for UHD students. The new partnerships with students from the University of St. Thomas and Rice University will help create bridges with knowledgeable prairie enthusiasts already participating in conserving their university pocket prairies. In addition, prairie partnerships will facilitate communication and involvement with students interested in prairie restoration and conservation.

Triple Bottom Line Analysis for UHD Science Building – Ashley Carrera
Ashley conducted an Economic Triple Bottom Line Analysis for the new LEED Gold certified UHD Science building. This a cost justification for the optimized capital investment and construction of the Science building. She measured factors that impact the Science building not just economically, but the environmental and social outcomes that come from the Science building.