The University of Virginia Global Water Initiative hosted its first Graduate Water Symposium in October, bringing together more than 40 UVA graduate students and faculty who work on water-related issues. Seven of the nine presenters were students from the School of Engineering and Applied Science. One of them — Courtney Hill — was awarded the first Global Water Initiative Graduate Prize for the most outstanding presentation.

Hill is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in civil and environmental engineering in the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment. Her presentation, “Technological Field Performance of a New Point-of-Use Water Treatment Technology in a Randomized Control Trial in Limpopo, South Africa,” described her work evaluating the MadiDrop technology for purification of drinking water and stored water. She recently discussed this research with Peter Debaere, professor of business administration at the Darden School, in an extended Q&A.

Hill’s research focuses on low-cost ways to treat water in rural South Africa. She has worked on a variety of projects assessing the relationship between human health and access to silver-embedded ceramics to develop new methods for treating water in low-resource areas using silver. She works with Henry L. Kinnier Professor of Civil Engineering James Smith, a lead developer of the MadiDrop water purification tablet.

Hill was named a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in 2014 when she graduated from the University of Arkansas with a B.S. civil engineering. Currently an Olive B. and Franklin C. Mac Krell Jefferson Fellow, she has had a distinguished career at UVA, co-founding the Science Policy Initiative at UVA and promoting gender equity in promotion policies and selection committees through UVA CHARGE.

Last spring, she served as a Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Academy of Science through the InterAcademy Partnership. Prior to her graduate studies, she taught English at a magnet high school in South Korea as a Fulbright Scholar.

Learn more about the University of Virginia Global Water Initiative here.

Photo of Courtney Hill