Libraries Name 2017 Undergraduate Sustainability Research Award Winners

Undergraduate Sustainability Research Award logo

The UMass Amherst Libraries have announced the winners of the 2017 Undergraduate Sustainability Research Award, led by first-place recipients Cameron Lane of Pepperell; Matthew “Donnie” Rollings of Lincoln University, Pa.; Cameron Smith-Freedman of Natick; and Luke Fateiger of Stow for “What is it Going to Take to Make Solar Panels Cool?”

The four, all juniors, will share a $1,000 scholarship.

The winning paper proposes a system of collecting rainwater so that it can be reused to cool and clean the panels, thereby improving their power output by at least 15 percent.

Two second-place awards of a $500 scholarship each go to the team of seniors Kyle Grasso of Charlton; Randa Kallin of Hudson; Patricia Murphy of Sunderland; and junior Taryn Ramey of Danbury, Conn., for “Proposal for Implementation of an E-receipt System and Non-toxic, Compostable Receipt Paper at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Dining Facilities” and to junior Sam Kefferstan of Andover for “The Perfect Storm: Lasting Impacts of Structural Adjustment Programs and Pressures of Climate Change in Latin America and Ghana, Africa.”

Honorable mention and a $250 scholarship go to the team of Louis Correra of Andover; Jose LaSalle of Amherst; Ezra Marcus of Great Barrington; Michelle Nikfarjam of Upton; Josh Nolan of Hanover, N.H.; Yamaan Ziade of Shrewsbury; and Brandon Curtin of Otis for "BioSTEAD Initiative: a Transdisciplinary Initiative to Construct Safe-to-Fail Green Buildings as Sustainable Development Research Sites on University Campuses.”

The Undergraduate Sustainability Research Award is made possible through the library’s Sustainability Fund. The award promotes the learning of sustainability, research strategies and the use of library resources, including consultations with subject librarians. The winning submissions demonstrate students’ sustainability-related research, critical thinking skills and leadership potential, which they will carry into their future academic, vocational and community-based endeavors.

“The winning projects for the 2017 Undergraduate Sustainability Research Awards reflect how important a priority sustainability is to our students on this campus,” says Simon Neame, dean of libraries. “The libraries, with the support of our generous donors, are proud to support these awards and recognize the outstanding work of UMass Amherst students.”

The winning projects will become a part of the libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives and will be accessible in the Sustainable UMass Student Showcase on ScholarWorks, the university’s digital repository at

Rollings will accept the first-place award on behalf of the winning team at the libraries’ “A Climate for Change” event on Saturday, April 1.