WCW16 Fresh Ideas Poster Contest

The recent Fresh Ideas Poster Contest at the WCW Conference and Exhibition in Calgary was a success! Young professionals and students gathered to show off creative posters that displayed their innovative research ideas and gave them a chance to meet water industry leaders from throughout western Canada.

“WCW was my first experience presenting a poster and once I began to find my groove answering questions I kind of started to like it”, said David Shoults who is this year’s Western Canada Section winner of the Fresh Ideas Poster Contest. David is studying Public Health at the University of Alberta and says that he enjoyed the contest because people had a genuine interest in his research.

David will now be going to Philadelphia for the national AWWA Poster Contest held the AWWA  Annual Conference and Exhibition (ACE). The poster contest, which started over a decade ago, was designed to attract young professionals to the water industry, which at the time faced labour shortages. The contest also introduces them to the benefits of being an AWWA member.

Nancy Sullivan, AWWA’s interim section relationship manager says that the poster contest is a great way to engage young professionals as it helps them “realize that the Association can help them find jobs, and meet peers and future work cohorts.”

The national contest will feature contestants who won their respective section poster contests. The posters are water industry related and past contestants have been in the fields of engineering, science, maintenance, finance, communications, and more. The posters are judged by water industry experts who score on technical content, benefit to the drinking water industry, oral presentation, and poster organization.

The poster topics featured at this year’s Western Canada Section poster contest covered a broad range of topics. First place winner David Shoults presented a poster titled “Total staphylococci as a potential pathogen surrogate for greywater treatment performance testing and risk management” and second place winner Jarvis Singer had a poster titled “The Influence of Nitrogen and Phosphorus on Dissolved Oxygen in the Bow River”.

David and other section winners will present their posters at the ACE 2017 in Philadelphia where they have a chance to win $500 and an opportunity to publish an article in a future issue of Journal AWWA, the Association’s flagship publication. Nancy Sullivan says that the journal article provides good exposure and that the winner usually gets a lot of feedback.

Details about the next Fresh Ideas Poster Contest to be held at the WCW Annual Conference and Exhibition in Saskatoon (September 19-22, 2017) will be released soon. “Know your material well and enjoy the challenge of presenting your results” is the advice that David has for future contestants. David is excited to present his results at ACE 2017, where he thinks can contribute to the development of water reuse systems. Plus, he has always wanted to run up the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art like Rocky did. Good luck David!

Nisa Jayathilake
City Of Calgary
WCS Communications Chair/2016 YP Committee Chair