February 14, 2018

When the University of Kentucky sent water testing equipment to nine schools around the state and 10 schools in India, it resulted in a special opportunity for a team of students from Belfry High School. In June, they will travel to Kolkata, India, to present their research on groundwater quality in Pike County.

It’s part of a project sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Mission to India that links schools in Kentucky and India to do community-based water quality research. While promoting inquiry-based learning about the effects of human activities on water quality, the project also introduces students to another culture. The effort was overseen by a UK project management team comprising Carol Hanley, from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and Alan Fryar and Rebecca Freeman from the College of Arts and Sciences. UK Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences graduate student Amanda Sherman developed an online portal where teams posted materials and contributed wikis, which are websites that allow users to collaborate and modify content.

After learning about water issues online with their colleagues in the other country, each Kentucky and Indian team designed its own project. The Belfry team, Aryn Adkins, Austin Dillon, Carlie McCoy and Hannah McCoy, led by their teacher, Haridas Chandran, decided to test water from drinking wells in their community. Each team wrote research proposals, and the team with the highest-rated proposal from each country will travel to the others’ country to present their research. DAV Model School in Durgapur, West Bengal, India, was chosen to travel to the U.S.

“Projects such as this are part of UK’s ongoing outreach to schools across the commonwealth, through which we hope to broaden students’ knowledge base in the STEM fields,” Hanley said, using the acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Other Kentucky schools that were engaged in the water quality research include Bryan Station High School, The Learning Center and the STEAM Academy in Lexington, duPont Manual High School and Central High School in Louisville, Muhlenberg County High School, Southwestern High School in Somerset and Woodford County High School.


Carol Hanley 859-257-3785, chanley@uky.edu

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