In June 2019, The Ohio State University hosted the national competition for the 2019 U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP). The SJWP entered into a three-year contract with Ohio State to host the national competition. This year 53 high-students from 45 states journeyed to the Buckeye State to vie for the opportunity to claim the most prestigious youth award for a water science project, which includes $10,000 and a trip to Stockholm, Sweden to represent the U.S. at the international competition this August. SJWP National Organizer Brad Lovett says:
"There’s so much passion and energy in these students and a real sense of purpose in their research. Water quality and management issues only become more and more relevant each year, and these students know it.”
Prior to the competition, Ohio WRC Co-Director Dr. Weavers delivered an inspiring presentation about the importance of water resources, the urban water cycle, and how Ohio State's many water degree programs make it a great place for students interested in water issues, such as those competing for the SJWP. The students visited the City of Columbus' Dublin Road Water Plant and Water Quality Assurance Laboratory, where they learned more about the urban water cycle and career opportunities in water resources.
The competition itself featured high-quality projects, many of which featured collegiate level research. Ohio was represented by three students from Dublin Jerome High School (pictured to the left) who created a robot that can circumnavigate a body of water and collect pollution samples from various areas across the lake. While there were a number of projects deserving of the title, judges crowned Sonja Michaluk from Hopewell Valley Central High School in Pennington, New Jersey as the Champion. Sonja's project, titled "A Novel Method of Monitoring the Health of our Global Fresh Water Supply using DNA Barcoding of Chironomidae (Diptera)" highlighted that two-thirds of the U.S. will suffer from water scarcity in the next decade.