Kevin's Story

Kevin OrnerKevin Orner
PhD Candidate, Environmental Engineering
2017 Fulbright Research Grant to Costa Rica
2016 American Water Works Association Roy W. Likins Scholarship

Kevin Orner, originally from Eden Prairie, MN, is a PhD Environmental Engineering candidate and proud recipient of the 2017 Fulbright US Student Program research grant to Costa Rica. This award afforded him the opportunity to design and construct a tubular digester and a struvite precipitation reactor to treat agricultural waste. He will then quantify nutrient and energy recovery, conduct a life cycle assessment, and analyze the social sustainability of resource recovery in rural Costa Rica.

In 2016, Kevin was awarded the Roy W. Likins Scholarship for his academic achievement and involvement in drinking water industry related technical activities, and demonstrated leadership in civil and community activities. He previously served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Water and Sanitation in Panama, and his thesis was based on fieldwork in Panama. He investigated how in-line chlorination can disinfect rural water supplies.

During the application process, Kevin worked closely with ONS. "The Office of National Scholarship provided clear directions to facilitate a complicated application process," he says. "Particularly, Ms. Lauren Chambers provided great support and encouragement throughout the application process."

Kevin attributes his success to USF advisor support. "I am thankful for my co-advisors, Dr. Jeffrey Cunningham and Dr. James Mihelcic, for their challenging guidance and warm encouragement to help me advance in my academic pursuits."

He is confident that this award will provide him with a strong foundation for future goals. "My long-term goal is to obtain a tenure-track faculty position in Environmental Engineering," says Kevin. "I intend to research resource recovery technologies, teach environmental engineering with integration of themes in sustainability and international applications, and serve local and global communities through sustained mutually beneficial collaborations - the Fulbright [research grant] will provide me with the experience and network to pursue that goal."

Congratulations to Kevin on winning the 2017 Fulbright US Student Program research grant to Costa Rica!

Interested in Fulbright Scholarship opportunities? Please email Ms. Lauren Chambers for scholarship application information: