This summer, two local high school seniors, Teppei (Cody) Kotake of Newton North High School and Robert Rampanis of Norwell High School, participated in  PROTECT Project 5 research as part of the Young Scholars Program (YSP) organized by Northeastern University’s Center for STEM Education.  The 6-week long program was created to provide opportunities for hands-on research to high school juniors and seniors in the Boston area with the goal to support the growth of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.

Under the supervision of Dr. Lily Rajic and PhD student Yuwei Zhao, both Cody and Robert worked on improving electrochemical reactors for groundwater treatment. The importance of the work lies in supporting an in situ formation of hydrogen peroxide through electrochemical processes, a crucial step in ensuring favorable conditions for Fenton reaction (breaking down hydrogen peroxide to highly active hydroxyl radicals). This approach lowers the cost of the technology implementation and ensures easier manipulation of the groundwater conditions. Specifically, Cody and Robert investigated the formation of hydrogen peroxide under different currents and flow rates. The work focused on examining the correlations between these parameters to optimize the technology for degradation of most commonly found groundwater contaminants and its performance under different groundwater flow conditions, which can significantly vary depending on the terrain.

From left to right: Robert Rampanis, Yuwei Zhao, Kimberly Hetrick, Teppei (Cody) Kotake