2012 Bullitt Environmental Fellowship Winner: Ricardi Duvil
Ricardi Duvil, a doctoral student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Washington State University, will research the use of nitrate as a remediation technique to prevent methylmercury contamination of freshwater biota in lakes, contamination that can cause severe heath effects in wildlife and humans.
Ricardi Duvil is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Washington State University, a fellow of the National Science Foundation. His research involves using nitrate as a remediation technique to prevent methylmercury contamination of freshwater biota in lakes, contamination that can cause severe heath effects in wildlife and humans.
Ricardi plans to investigate the dynamics and mechanisms of nitrate control on mercury cycling in surface waters, as well as policy and management implications of using nitrate to ameliorate mercury contamination of aquatic biota. This research will combine lab studies, field studies, and microbial ecology studies to illuminate the dynamics, mechanisms and effectiveness of nitrate control on methylmercury cycling at the sediment-water interface of lakes. Results of this work could contribute to the form and content of new regulatory action towards mercury contamination, the acceptance and use of new technology, and the development of alternative ways to implement policies that effectively mitigate mercury contamination in freshwater life.
His pursuit of higher education began at Boston's Suffolk University, where he earned a B.S. degree in Environmental Engineering. He decided to study environmental engineering because of its applied nature and strong connection to public health. Following graduation from Suffolk, he went on to earn a M.S. degree in Applied Geosciences from the University of Pennsylvania, followed by a M.S. degree in Environmental Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.
His academic achievements, work experience, and passion for research have prepared him to become a leader in preventing environmental degradation linked to human health problems, especially in developing nations such as Haiti, where people suffer unimaginable heath problems from everyday exposure to environmental pollution. Throughout his career, Ricardi has served as a role model and encouraging minority high school students to pursue their dreams of being a scientist or engineer and protecting the environment, despite obstacles along the way.
Ricardi’s goal is to make a significant contribution to the scientific and engineering knowledge of mercury pollution and water resources problems in Haiti and across developing nations. With his doctoral degree, he is confident that he will become a leader in solving water-related health problems and preventing the unnecessary destruction of lives and the environment, degradation that he encountered first-hand as a young man in Haiti. After earning his PhD, he plans to continue with research, teaching, and community outreach at the university level. He is optimistic that with his vision of making a real difference and protecting human and environmental health will become a reality.