December 22, 2014  

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Southern Miss Engineering Technology Student Wins Presentation Award

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Southern Miss industrial engineering technology student Andrew Adams is conducting research on a new oil dispersant. (University Communications photo by Van Arnold)

Every available minute finds University of Southern Mississippi industrial engineering technology student Andrew Adams laboring tirelessly on research that could have a huge impact on the environment should another catastrophe like the Gulf oil spill occur.

Adams’ efforts earned special recognition when he received the Best Student Presentation Award at the annual seminar of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists last month in Charleston, S.C. Only a junior, Adams took home the top prize, despite competing against a large field of doctoral students.

“I was very surprised, excited even, when hearing my name called but mostly I was thinking of the hard work and everything that led up to that moment,” said Adams, an Ellisville, Miss., native who graduated from South Jones High School. “It is not very often that those who are in the lab, putting in long hours of work and research get honored and recognized for what they do.”

Adams works under the tutelage of Dr. Robert Lochhead, chair of the Department of Polymers and High Performance Materials. As a member of the AIR project team, Adams is conducting research on an oil dispersant that would prevent oil from sticking to bird feathers. Lochhead and his colleagues developed the new dispersant shortly after the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in April of 2010.

His winning poster was entitled, “Preventing Oil from Wetting Keratin: The use of contact angle and surface tension measurements to design oil dispersants.” Part of the presentation detailed how the AIR team developed a new, faster method for testing dispersant mixtures in a custom-built saltwater aquarium.

Adams is the son of Artie and Sheila Adams.

For more information about the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials, call 601.266.4868 or visit: http://www.usm.edu/polymer/