Montana Technological University Student to Present at Posters on the Hill


Laurel Bitterman headshot

Laurel Bitterman, a Montana Technological University environmental engineering student from Polson, Montana, has been selected to participate in the Council on Undergraduate Research's (CUR) 25th annual Posters on the Hill in Washington, DC, on April 27-28, 2021.

Bitterman will present her undergraduate research on Microbial Cellulose Capsules Reactions with Solid Particles and Sulfates in a virtual format at the Council on Undergraduate Research's Posters on the Hill 2021.

Bitterman added, "I feel very grateful to have received an opportunity to share my research with Congressional members! I am excited to gain some advocacy training and discuss the importance of undergraduate research."

Bitterman enjoys working as an undergraduate researcher on campus and as an intern at Water and Environmental Technologies in Butte. She spends much of her time leading a sanitation project based in Nicaragua for Engineers Without Borders. She plans to attend graduate school to study sustainability and systems thinking.

Bitterman has been researching microbial cellulose capsules and their reactions with solid particles and sulfates. The project started during the spring 2020 semester as a Research Assistance Mentorship Program (RAMP), where Bitterman and her group were mentored by Dr. Katherine Zodrow and Dr. Dario Prieto. Since then, she has published a research paper and continues to expand on the project and investigate these capsules' environmental applications. So far, Bitterman and her mentors have determined that they encapsulate solid particles and help slow the release of sulfate in aqueous environments. She is excited to continue her research efforts and hopefully use the microbial cellulose capsules in an environmentally beneficial way!

"Laurel will be a great ambassador for Montana Tech at Posters on the Hill. She has excellent communication skills, is highly intelligent, creative, and well-prepared. Laurel is a wonderful individual who wants to make her community and the world a better place. We know she will make a large positive impact in the scientific community. Posters on the Hill will offer her a chance to meet and interact with her fellow future leaders in science," noted Dario Prieto, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, and Katherine Zudrow, Assistant Professor, Environmental Engineering.

Montana Tech Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Steve Gammon added, "We are so pleased and proud of Laurel and her faculty mentors for this recognition. Only a handful of students present their work at Posters on the Hill. Montana Tech faculty provide undergraduate students a variety of cutting-edge research opportunities. These experiences prove to be invaluable as students prepare to enter the workforce or further their studies."

>To be selected, students' research projects go through a rigorous, highly competitive review process."