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2015 Water Symposium at Penn State

An Interdisciplinary Exhibition of Water Scholarship at Penn State
April 22, 2015, HUB-Robeson Center

Hala Nassar photo


Keynote Speaker: Hala Nassar

12:00 p.m. - Freeman Auditorium

The keynote speaker for this celebration event will be Hala Nassar, Professor of Landscape Architecture at Clemson University.


Climate Change garden - designed by Hala Nassar

The Public Art Project, Climate Change Garden, exhibited in Sonoma, California. Click here to learn more about this project.

Nassar holds a BSArch, MSArch, and Ph.D. in History of Landscape Architecture from Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, and Master of Agricultural Sciences in Landscape Design from The Pennsylvania State University. Originally from Egypt, Dr. Nassar brings her broad international understanding of design and culture into her practice, research and teaching.  Her research and practice interests include historical and cultural landscapes, Islamic landscape tradition, international education, multiculturalism and the effects of globalization on landscape change.

Nassar teaches various courses on the history of landscape architecture and various design studios including an annual urban design studio in collaboration with Ain Shams University in Cairo which focuses on the design and development of the historic fabric and sites of antiquities in Egypt such as Luxor, Giza, Cairo and Rossetta. 

Click here to learn more about Nassar's work.

This talk is free and open to the public. Seating is available on a first-come basis.



Water & Conflict Panel emblem


Water & Conflict Panel Discussion

4:00 - 5:15 p.m. - Freeman Auditorium

    Both water quantity - too much, and too little - and quality issues are becoming critical around the globe. Long a source of conflict, control and distribution of water resources is becoming more of an issue as people ponder the nexus of water, energy, food, and climatic changes. This panel will share their perspectives and then participate in a facilitated discussion, including Q&A with the audience.


    Confirmed Panel Members:

  • Mina Girgis, President and CEO of The Nile Project
  • Dr. Douglas J. Kennett, Department of Anthropology, Penn State
  • Dr. Bryan McDonald, Department of History, Penn State
  • Andrew Warner, Deputy Director, Water Infrastructure, The Nature Conservancy
  • Facilitator: Lara Fowler, Research Fellow, Penn State Institutes of Energy & the Environment; Senior Lecturer, Penn State Law

Research Poster and Art Exhibition

1:00 - 3:30 p.m. - Heritage Hall

Come enjoy a free scoop of Berkey Creamery Ice Cream in celebration of the wealth of water scholarship at Penn State. On view will be posters from the American Water Resources Association (AWRA), Civil Engineering, Ecology, Environmental Systems Engineering, University Libraries and more.

There are still spaces available for students and faculty who are interested in contributing posters and artwork. Visit to submit your proposal. Click here for poster pickup and dropoff instructions.


Immersion Talks

1:15 - 3:45 p.m. - All talks to take place in the HUB, Heritage Hall


Immersion Session: Management and Design of Public Water Systems

1:15 p.m.

Matt Royer, Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center
“It Takes a Watershed: Creating Watershed Communities”

1:30 p.m.

Julia Hudson-Richards - History, Penn State Altoona
"Spanish Water and 'The Commons': Valencia's Tribunal de las Aguas."


Artful Rainwater Design book cover

"Artful Rainwater Design" comes out in May 2015.

1:40 p.m.

Stuart Echols and Eliza Pennypacker
Penn State professors of Landscape Architecture and co-authors of their upcoming book, Artful Rainwater Design: Creative Ways to Manage Stormwater, will be showcasing their work at the event.

“For 10 years we've researched the topic of "Artful Rainwater Design", which we define as sustainable stormwater management presented as a landscape amenity that overtly celebrates rain,” explains Pennypacker.


1:55 p.m.

Ron Henderson, FASLA - Dept. or Major: Landscape Architecture and Asian Studies
"Local Infrastructure: The Integration of Water Systems in Chinese Public Parks by L+A Landscape Architecture"
Four award-winning projects by Professor Ron Henderson and his professional landscape architecture firm, L+A Landscape Architecture, will be discussed in terms of the integration of water infrastructure into public parks in China. The projects all call for "Local Infrastructures" that address issues of historic preservation, urbanism in the absence of water, "living water", the public space of open societies, and other topics.


2:10 p.m.

Larry Fennessee - Office of Physical Plant
For over four decades the University has maintained a holistic water management strategy for potable water, wastewaster, and stormwater in a karst terrain. The University's water system at the University Park campus supplies over one billion gallons of unfiltered potable groundwater annually to over 50,000 customers.  The University also owns and operates a wastewater system that treats on average 2,600,000 gallons a day.  None of this treated wastewater has been discharged into any surface waters since 1983, instead the treated effluent is spray irrigated on farm and forest areas promoting groundwater recharge, while protecting water quality. 


2:25 p.m.

Andrew Kreider - Environmental Engineering
Using Aquatic Vegetation to Capture Nutrients from Wastewater for Agriculture.



Immersion Session: Water Chemistry

2:35 p.m.

Chen Bao - EME, EMS
RT-Flux-PIHM: A Coupled Hydrological, Land Surface, and Reactive Transport Model for Hydrogeochemical Processes at the Watershed Scale.


2:50 p.m.

Adri van Duin - Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering
Atomistic-scale simulations of water chemistry at complex material interfaces.



Immersion Session: Water in Society

3:05 p.m.

Water in Society Panel: Elaine Brzycki, Penn State Public Media; Lee Ahern, College of Communications; Colleen Connelly-Ahern, College of Communications
"Water Blues: Green Solutions"
Following on the success of WPSU's Water Blues: Green Solutions production, the panel will discuss: "Documentary as an educational tool for local water quality issues: Promises and perils." Ahern and Connolly-Ahern were part of a research grant from William Penn Foundation to promote and evaluate the impact of the documentary, and their research sheds light on how people respond to information in documentaries in unexpected and complicated ways. The project also serves as a model for other collaborations related to energy and environment.

Immersion Session: Water Energy Nexus

3:20 p.m.

David Yoxtheimer, P.G. - Extension Associate, Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research
“Optimizing the Water Efficiency of Shale Energy Development”

  3:35 p.m.

Ted Jaenicke - Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education
Water and Gas: Increased Bottled Water Purchases as Evidence of Risk Averting Behavior in Pennsylvania Shale Gas Counties
One of the most contentious debates surrounding unconventional shale gas development, including activity in Pennsylvania's Marcellus, is the potential - real or perceived - for increased drilling activity to lead to contamination of local ground and surface water supplies. Several recent studies have shown that well bore and casings that pass through underground water sources have the potential to degrade surrounding drinking water well quality fueling much of this concern. Our presentation will present evidence that yearly household purchases of bottled water increase as unconventional shale gas activity increased in the Pennsylvania region from 2005 through 2010.


Video Screening - Presented by ENRI


Conewago Creek Screen Still

Playing at: 1:15 – 2:10 p.m., 2:15 – 3:10 p.m., 3:15 – 3:45 p.m. - HUB Freeman Auditorium
Drop in to the auditorium at any time. Most videos are 5 to 15 minutes long
  • The Sustainable Watersheds Program at Penn State
  • Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited
  • Backyard Makeover
  • Delta Program
  • Water Quality Monitoring
  • Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater
  • Conewago Creek Story
  • The Phosphorus Paradox
  • The Center for Nutrient Solutions (trailer)

Student and Faculty Art Exhibitions


Reservoir Studio Logo


10:00 - 1:00 p.m. - HUB Lawn

Reservoir Studio - School of Visual Arts
Performance art/demonstration of the production and use of ceramic water filters. Click here to learn more about Reservoir Studio at Penn State.



Ann Tarantino photo

On display all day in the Research Poster Exhibit:

Ann Tarantino - Assistant Professor of Art and Landscape Architecture, Stuckeman School
Ann Tarantino will display photos of her recent work at Millbrook Marsh. You can see a few samples of this piece here.




Exhibits /Informational Booths:

1:00 - 4:00 p.m. - HUB Food Court Area:

ENRI, University Libraries, AWRA, PSIEE Water Lab

1:00 - 4:00 p.m. - Room 129:

Polar Center


Water Symposium Partner Organizations:

The Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Envrionment
Environmental and Natural Resources Institute
Penn State Amercian Water Resources Association Student Chapter
Polar Center
Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center
The Nile Project

Download a flyer here (PDF) to share, a printable agenda here (Docx), or click here to read & share the related story on Penn State News.


Click here to learn more about Water at Penn State.




Plastics Paradise DVD cover


Plastic Paradise Screening

7:00 p.m. - Freeman Auditorium

Penn State student group Eco Action will host a screening of Plastics Paradise, followed by a panel discussion. The event will also include a preview performance by The Nile Project at 6:00 p.m.

About the film: Thousands of miles away from civilization, Midway Atoll is in one of the most remote places on earth. And yet its become ground zero for The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, syphoning plastics from three distant continents. In this independent documentary film, journalist/filmmaker Angela Sun travels on a personal journey of discovery to uncover this mysterious phenomenon. Along the way she meets scientists, researchers, influencers, and volunteers who shed light on the effects of our rabid plastic consumption and learns the problem is more insidious than we could have ever imagined.




Nile Project logo

The Nile Project

Thursday, April 23, 7:30 p.m. - Eisenhower Auditorium

The Nile Project, which brings together artists from eleven countries in the Nile basin, uses the power of music to raise awareness of the cultural and environmental challenges along the world’s longest river. The project unites musicians to learn from one another and translate their common experience into music composed collectively.

Click here to buy tickets.