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FAMU-FSU Engineering Team Recognized for Work to Restore Cypress Spring

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The FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and local community partners recently recognized five female FSU alumnae for their work in designing a more sustainable Cypress Spring. On March 4th the graduates were acknowledged by Nestlé Waters North America (Nestlé Waters) and the NW Florida Water Management District on the College of Engineering campus. This announcement comes during women's history month.

In the spring term of 2020, three Environmental Engineering students-- Abigail Burns, Lindsey Furrow, and Jennifer Magi -- teamed up with two Civil Engineering students -- Maria Leal-Bruce and Caroline Wells -- to create a senior engineering project in Professor O. Sean Martin’s class.

For their project, the group decided to enter Nestlé Waters’ design contest, which called for proposals on how to help restore the shoreline to prevent erosion and increase water quality, and improve infrastructure for public access to Cypress Spring in Vernon, Florida.

“Cypress Spring is a beautiful place that attracts many visitors, but those visitors can create unintentional negative impacts,” said Brett Cyphers, Executive Director of the Northwest Florida Water Management District. “We asked these students to help create a place that was both sustainable and welcoming to the public, and they gave us exactly what we were looking for.”

The team used their collective engineering expertise to suggest significant improvements to the park. Their designs included new public access points to control shoreline erosion, construction of a sustainable vault to divert nutrients away from the water table, and a creek diversion design to divert water containing acidic leaf matter away from Cypress Creek.

“The work these students created is outstanding, and we thought Women’s History Month was the perfect time to celebrate their accomplishments,” said Kent Koptiuch, Natural Resource Manager for Nestlé Waters. “You often don’t see this caliber of work until years into an engineer’s career. The fact that all five of these women just graduated from college is a testament to the excellence of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering program, its instructors, and, of course, the hard work of these students.”

To thank the team for their winning proposal, Nestlé Waters gave each of the five students a $1,000 check. Additionally, Nestlé Waters is donating $10,000 to the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

“This award money is an investment in Florida’s future,” explained Kent Koptiuch. “We see the talent that comes from FSU and all the universities in the state, and we want to invest in that. We know these bright young minds will be the future leaders in sustainability and environmental stewardship, tasked with tackling tough environmental challenges, and we want to help them be as prepared as they can be.”

Having graduated in late 2020, these five women continue to make waves as they start their careers. Abigail Burns is pursuing a career in water resource engineering and working full-time at Wade Trim, a Civil Engineering, Planning, and Surveying firm in Tampa, FL. Lindsey Furrow works full time with the engineering consulting firm Atkins in Orlando. Maria Leal-Bruce is a full-time project manager for the construction company Alberici and her first project involved restoring the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis. Jennifer Magi now works full-time as a Water Resources Engineer at Kimley-Horn and Associates in West Palm Beach. Caroline Wells is currently pursuing a master's degree in Structural and Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Central Florida.

About Nestlé Waters North America 

Nestlé Waters North America offers an unrivaled portfolio of bottled water brands for healthy hydration, including Zephyrhills® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water, Nestlé® Splash and Nestlé® Pure Life®. The company also owns and operates ReadyRefresh®, a customizable water and beverage delivery service.

Based in Stamford, Connecticut with approximately 7,000 associates in the United States, we manage natural resources for long-term sustainability, and we conserve more than 18,000 acres of natural watershed area. We currently source water for our six regional spring water brands from 38 active springs throughout the United States. We are also committed to creating shared value and being a good neighbor in the more than 120 communities where we operate in the U.S. For more information, visit us at follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @NestleWatersNA.