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SAC Student Researches…

SAC Engineering student, Crista Cerda Garcia, spent part of her summer vacation on the beaches of Cancun, Mexico. Instead of soaking up the sun, however, she was doing undergraduate research on the water quality.
Research in Cancun

SAC Student Researches Water Quality in Cancun

For many students, summer is the time to go on vacation with family, hang out on a beach somewhere tropical, and do absolutely nothing.

Although she got to hang out in Cancun this summer, SAC Engineering student Crista Cerda Garcia’s summer was slightly more intriguing than the normal beach experience.

Earlier this year, with the help of SAC’s MESA Center, Cerda applied and was selected as one of six undergraduate students to participate in a summer research project with Northern Illinois University. The project took her to the four-year university in DeKalb, Illinois for two weeks, and then to the beaches of Cancun, Mexico for about a month.

While the overall project was to study how tourists impact the water quality in the Yucatan Peninsula, Cerda’s focus was on groundwater geophysics—a practice of studying the Earth’s physical properties as it relates to water which is only about 10-15 years old.

“It was a lot of learning,” exclaimed Cerda. “I didn’t know what groundwater geophysics was two months ago, but our team got through it together and had some interesting findings,” she continued. “It was amazing!”

Cerda recently graduated from San Antonio College in May 2017 with an associate of science in Engineering and Liberal Arts. She will be attending UTSA this fall as an Engineering student. An outstanding student, she was awarded the prestigious Terry Foundation Scholarship which will provide up to $16,000 for two years—enough to cover her tuition to complete her bachelor’s degree.

Upon concluding the research in Cancun, Cerda and her team returned to DeKalb to do further data analysis and present their findings. She plans to go back to Illinois again in January 2018 to do more research.