Dr. Kyana Young Receives Awards for Innovative Water Recycle Project and Impactful Community Outreach Program

Dr. Kyana Young

Dr. Kyana Young recently received a Collaboration Grant with Tunisian colleague and microbiologist Dr. Sihem Jebri. With an academic background in Civil and Environmental engineering and a passion for travel, Dr. Young understands the importance that water treatment/quality plays in the maintenance of a community’s public health. With this particular grant, she will be working to address a lacking wastewater treatment system at Dr.Jebri’s current institution. Undergraduate research student Crawford Wheeler (‘23), pictured below, is a second year engineering student and contributor to this project – he is building a pilot scale wastewater treatment system which will become the project’s template.

Undergraduate research student Crawford Wheeler

“Undergraduate research student Crawford Wheeler (‘23) in front of in-progress pilot wastewater treatment system

After building the pilot system, Dr. Young will test the water treatment’s efficiency with extensive testing and following the finalization of edits, the dimensions will be sent to Tunisia so that the new wastewater treatment system can be installed. Once completed, this system will allow the institution to recycle its treated wastewater for irrigation and agricultural purposes! 

As a nontraditional student who took some time off to explore academic options, Dr. Young also understands that accessible education and representation in STEM matter. Her experiences and mentorship as a McNair Scholar expanded this understanding and energized her to incorporate community outreach within her future work. Thus, Dr. Young’s inspiring contributions to society don’t end at the international level. Her unique passion and attention to detail have also earned her a CTSI Community Boost Award to contribute educational activities to the local “Girls as Citizen Scientist” program for young students in Winston-Salem, NC. In collaboration with Winston-Salem State University faculty member and GEMS (Girls Empowered by Math and Science) Director Dr. Denise Johnson, Dr. Young has been able to educate and inspire local students with her expertise on water treatment. This fall, GEMS has hosted a Saturday Academy under Dr. Young’s guidance where students can gather to investigate water sources, learn how to collect/analyze data, explore healthy water systems maintenance, and collaborate to generate innovative solutions for the future. This monthly hybrid virtual and in-person camp is a modified version of Dr. Young’s original vision which involved collaboration with water-involved community partners as well as a project-based lab-work opportunity for the students. Her ability to quickly shift gears in order to ensure the deliverance of this program in a safe and effective manner demonstrates the great creativity, adaptability, and dedication of Wake Forest Engineers.