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UW-Eau Claire Senior Geology Major
Receives National Scholarship

RELEASED: July 7, 2009

UW-Eau Claire student Crystal Nickel
UW-Eau Claire senior Crystal Nickel recently received a national scholarship from the National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation.

EAU CLAIRE — Crystal Nickel, Lake Mills, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, recently was awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation.

Majoring in geology with an emphasis in hydrogeology, Nickel was one of eight students from across the nation chosen to receive a scholarship from the NGWREF's Len Assante Scholarship Fund. Recipients were chosen on the basis of academic record, participation in extracurricular activities and community service in high school and college, a demonstrated commitment to the environment and financial need.

Nickel, the daughter of James and Denise Nickel, graduated with academic honors from Lake Mills High School in 2005. She is a member of UW-Eau Claire's geology club; the Sigma Gamma Epsilon Honor Society; and the American Geophysical Union, a worldwide scientific community that advances, through unselfish cooperation in research, the understanding of the earth and space for the benefit of humanity.

At UW-Eau Claire, Nickel is involved in two student-faculty research projects. She currently is working with Dr. Katherine Grote, assistant professor of geology, using ground penetrating radar for vadose zone site characterization. Her second research project, with Dr. Phillip Ihinger, professor of geology, studies fluid inclusions within quartz crystals in order to document their evolution in different pressure/temperature regimes of the Alps. Nickel believes her research projects were a good part of the reason she was chosen to receive the scholarship.

"Undergraduate research is something students from other universities don't often have the opportunity to do," Nickel said. "Being involved in research activities within my department not only demonstrated my interest in my major, but also set me apart from other applicants."

After her planned graduation in 2010, Nickel hopes to pursue a doctoral degree working in groundwater supply, quality and conservation. She hopes not only to work on restoring contaminated aquifers, but also to educate others on the importance of groundwater conservation.

"I want to thank NGWREF for selecting me as a 2009 scholarship recipient and for their past generosity in helping students pursue their dreams," Nickel said.

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NW/DW

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