Doctoral Candidate Wins National Award for Research

May 19, 2016
Joshua Brownlow

Joshua Brownlow courtesy photo.

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Media contact: Tonya Lewis, (254) 710-4656

WACO, Texas (May 18, 2016)—Joshua Brownlow, a doctoral candidate studying geology at Baylor University, received the Farvolden Award for his research regarding the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and groundwater contamination, which he presented at the 2016 National Groundwater Association Groundwater Summit in April.

Brownlow’s research focused on investigating the potential for hydraulic fracturing to contaminate groundwater through leaking or abandoned wells. He developed and used a model to predict the potential for groundwater contamination when abandoned wells were left open or filled with drilling mud.

Brownlow worked alongside Joe Yelderman, Ph.D., professor in Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences, and director of Baylor’s wastewater research program and the Institute of Ecological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, as well as Scott James, Ph.D., assistant professor in Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences, for nearly a year to complete the research.

“Josh did a lot of work on this, overcame a lot of difficulties that would have set a lot of other people back, but he stayed with it and did an excellent job,” Yelderman said.

The Farvolden Award is given to the most outstanding student research papers presented at the summit. It is judged on both scientific content and presentation style.

“It’s quite prestigious because it was a national meeting, and it was one of the best student papers there. I’m very proud of him. He did an excellent job,” Yelderman said.

In addition to the Groundwater Summit, Brownlow presented his data at the Geological Society of America meeting and plans to speak about his research at the Texas Association of Groundwater Districts in August. His work will also be published in the coming issue of the journal Groundwater.

Brownlow is currently researching topics for several other papers he hopes to publish in the coming year.

by Karyn Simpson, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


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