The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering welcomed two new student fellows, Mr. Ular Palmiste and Mr. Pavels Senivs. Palmiste and Senivs won a prestigious fellowship from the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation (BAFF) sponsored by the US Department of State after vigorous competition in Estonia and Latvia, respectively. Both students will work with Professor Walter Tang, Ph.D., P.E., on their Master thesis from January 9, 2014, to January 8, 2015. In addition to completing their Master thesis, they are also commissioned to enrich the ties between the United States and Estonia and Latvia through their research and educational experience at FIU.

 Mr. Palmiste earned his B.S. degree from the Department of Environmental Engineering at Tallinn University of Technology (TUT), Tallinn, Estonia, in Winter 2013. He was the president of the Student Association at TUT. His research focuses on disinfection of air, water, and wastewater. With Professor Tang, he will investigate, design, and build LED UV disinfection device of air, water, and wastewater.                                                                                      Mr. Senivs graduated with a B.S. degree from the Institute of Riga Technical University, Riga, Latvia, in Fall 2013. Before he came to FIU, he worked in the laboratory of Tālis Juhna who is a Professor of Water Technology and Vice-Rector for Research at Riga Technical University. He will study, design and build tankless treatment system of water and wastewater for small communities, which count for over 93 percent of more than 150,000 public water supply systems in the U.S.A. These systems serve less than 3,300 people. It is expected that the tankless treatment system will revolutionize the water treatment plant by producing safer and more economic, efficient water supply for small communities.                                         During their stay at FIU, Palmiste and Senivs will also have an internship at RGF Environmental Group in West Palm Beach, Florida. RGF has been a leader in Advanced Oxidation Technology since 1985. Its patented technology such as photo-hydroionization process has been approved by the US Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration. Once they finish their Master thesis, they will return to their own countries and serve as the bridge between Tang’s research group and their perspective advising professors at their own country to continue their research for years to come.