Integrating Research and Service To Shape a Better World
Rooted in its mission and enabled by research opportunities for undergraduates through doctoral students, Mercer University is integrating research and service to shape a better world.
Mercer students and faculty are taking what they learn in their classrooms and laboratories and applying them to real-world problems, at home and around the globe. Here are just a few examples:
- Undergraduate students, led by faculty in the College of Liberal Arts, used their research on human trafficking to create educational programs, host a national conference, train law enforcement, and lobby for changes in local ordinances and state laws that led to a dramatic reduction in trafficking in Central Georgia.
- Biomedical engineering students and their professor, Dr. Ha Van Vo, invented a low-cost prosthetic leg that has been patented and deployed in Vietnam and Haiti. More than 7,000 amputees have been fitted and are walking. Now endorsed by the government of Vietnam, the Mercer program is being expanded throughout the country, where thousands still lose limbs to leftover land mines from the Vietnam War.
- Goldwater Scholar and chemistry major Kaydren Orcutt, working with her faculty mentor Dr. Kathryn Kloepper, is using analytical chemistry to investigate better ways to clean up oil spills. Specifically, her research focuses on biosurfactants, which are naturally produced, soap-like molecules that enable water and oils to mix.
- Dr. Laura Lackey's environmental engineering students performed research that led to systems that improve drinking water in sub-Saharan Africa. Making multiple trips to Kenya, Lackey and her students brought water closer to villages by using local resources to build and
- Several Mercer students, under the direction of Dr. Philip McCreanor, are developing technology that will allow water to be reused for subsurface landscape irrigation. Victoria Rexhausen, Jin Kim, Stevie Watson and Simran Khoja received a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to design a bio-filtration system that will treat household waste water from baths, sinks, washing machines and kitchen appliances. Mercer students and faculty have been studying the treatment of this residential gray water for nearly a decade.