Kentucky Graduate Student Earns $10K Scholarship to Continue Research in Water Science

Stormwater management, bioretention treatment, engineering sustainable infrastructure. They’re certainly not everyday terms for most of us, let alone college students. A thirst for knowledge on water sustainability and the best practices to do so earned a Kentucky graduate student a $10,000 scholarship to continue his valuable research.

On Tuesday morning, Isaac Oluk received the Rengao Song Scholarship for Water Science and Technology at the 2022 Kentucky/Tennessee Water Professionals Conference, held in Lexington this year. This is the second year for the award created in part by Louisville Water, to support the next generation of water quality scientists.

Oluk will graduate this year with a Masters in Civil Engineering at the University of Kentucky. He plans to immediately pursue his Ph.D in Civil Engineering, also at UK.

Oluk’s research puts urban stormwater under the microscope. He’s looking into how stormwater is treated and then reused. He’s also digging into the potential health risks depending on the various ways the water is reused, for example, in vegetable irrigation or recreational swimming. The Rengao Song Scholarship will help Oluk further his research into the approach of managing stormwater and achieving high water quality.

“Isaac was a superior candidate for this award as his research will better inform decisions related to the sustainability of water systems and create pragmatic applications. This is at the heart of Rengao’s focused approach to finding the best, most practical solutions to solve significant water quality challenges,” said Vince Monks, Louisville Water Manager of Distribution Water Quality. Monks was part of the committee that selected Oluk out of 14 candidates.

To be eligible for the award, students must be a resident of Kentucky or Tennessee or enrolled in a graduate degree program in either state. The scholarship is awarded based on the value of the research and how it supports the improvement of the water quality and treatment in the two states.

Scott Clark, an AMI Analyst II for Louisville Water, also served on the scholarship selection committee. He said Oluk’s application resonated with them in terms of Rengao Song’s legacy.

“We are hopeful, that upon the completion of Isaac’s studies, he will find a place in the water industry where he can contribute in the same matter as Rengao has over his amazing career.”