Graduate STEM Fellow Profile

Claire Babineaux

Project Title: Initiating New Science Partnerships in Rural Education (INSPIRE)
Thesis: Recycled Glass Cullet as an Alternative Aggregate to Dredged Sediments for Coastal Replenishment
College/University: Mississippi State University
Research Advisor: Christopher Dewey
Degree Sought: M.S., Geosciences, Geology
Department: Department of Geosciences
Research Focus: Coastal Geomorphology
Teaching Partner(s): Patricia Cochran

Description of Research

The altering of the continental shelf by dredging causes excess amounts of erosion, putting coastal environments at a higher risk of exposure to coastal processes. As an alternative to dredging, recycled glass has been considered for use as a feasible and environmentally friendly material for coastal replenishment. A pilot study was conducted in Starkville, Mississippi to show that there is a verifiable financial benefit to recycling companies and the ARMY Corps of Engineers for using recycled glass for beach replenishment. My research area includes coastal Mississippi, as well as, a case study on San Salvador, Bahamas. The main goal of my research is to determine the compatibility and feasibility of using recycled glass cullet for beach replenishment.

Example of how my research is integrated into my GK-12 experience

The opportunity to integrate my research into my GK-12 experience has been an enlightening experience. The implementation of the idea of using a common item the students see every day, like glass, and then suggesting new uses for it throughout the year has been an interesting ride. My background in Geology and interest in environmental conservation has helped me build lesson plans and activities that have interested the students in ways I did not expect. For example, when speaking of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, some of the students asked if they could see it on Google Earth and if it was tracked with satellites. My favorite parts of the opportunity to integrate my research are helping the students to see the big picture of the world around them, to get them interested in the recycling process, and to expose them to sides of the science they are learning about now that they would not necessarily see until later on in their school careers.