A senior from Sanderson, Seidel was nominated for the award by Dr. Heather Lehto of the ASU geosciences faculty for his research project titled “Fecal Contaminate Monitoring of the Middle Concho River.”
For his project, Seidel collected water samples from the Concho River over 26 weeks, measuring the concentrations of E. coli bacteria and submitting the samples for DNA testing to try to determine the source of the bacteria. His work is also a component of a two-year project overseen by the Upper Colorado River Authority and funded by a $60,000 Urban Waters Grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. The ultimate goal of the project is to implement measures to mitigate the bacteria buildup in the Concho River.
In her nomination letter for Seidel, Lehto wrote, “Darren consistently goes above and beyond what is needed for anything he does. He is the most hard-working and personable young man I have ever known…In the field, Darren takes meticulous notes about the area being sampled in the most organized and neatly written field book I have ever seen…What impresses me most about Darren is that, in many ways, I already see him as a colleague and not just as an undergraduate.”
Seidel and his research were also featured in the Oct. 20, 2014, issue of the San Angelo Standard-Times. The article can be found at www.gosanangelo.com/news/local-news/local-experts-dip-into-concho-river-bacteria_96386884.
In addition to his geosciences research, Seidel has been a member of the ASU Agriculture Department’s successful Wool Judging Team (2011), Meat Judging Team (2012) and Livestock Judging Team (2013). He is a member of the Alpha Chi and Phi Kappa Phi national academic honor societies, the Sigma Gamma Epsilon national geosciences honor society and the Delta Tau Alpha national agriculture honor society. He has received several scholarships through the ASU Department of Physics and Geosciences, including the James M. Varnadore Memorial Scholarship. After graduating from ASU in May, he will begin his fully-funded graduate studies at Purdue University this fall.
The Council on Undergraduate Research was founded in 1978, and its mission is to support and promote high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship in all academic disciplines. Based in Washington, D.C., its members include nearly 10,000 individuals and more than 650 colleges and universities, including ASU. The Geosciences Division was founded in 1986. More details are available at www.cur.org/ and http://geocur.org/.