The student news site of Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin.

Revealing her discoveries: Emma Rachum’s independent study

June 5, 2018

“There are so many people in cities around the world who suffer since they don’t have access to clean water; I wanted to create something that would make a change,” Emma Rachum, senior, said regarding her Independent Study topic.

Independent Study is a class offered by Homestead High School in which, with the approval of Mrs. Robin Schlei, gifted and talented coordinator, and Principal Brett Bowers, students are able to spend a trimester studying about a topic they feel passionate about. In Rachum Rachum’s case, she strived to study water conservation, specifically from the environmental engineering lense.

During her presentation, which took place Thursday, May 31, at the STEM Lab, Rachum talked about her desire to find a solution to the global water contamination problem. She specifically analyzed the role of perfluorinated chemicals, a large group of environmentally harmful chemicals used in industrial and consumer products, in water contamination. Her final solution came down to a granular-activated carbon filter made out of organic material which would take the role of trapping chemicals. With the help of Mr. Patterson, Physics teacher, Rachum was able to 3D print her own design, an approximately five-inch water filter.

One of her advisors, in addition to Mr. Jeff Patterson, includes Mrs. Dawn Pfaff, AP Environmental Science teacher, who was able to help Rachum fully comprehend the environmental aspect of the issue at hand. Ever since Rachum brought the idea last May about her project, Mrs. Pfaff has been very supportive of the whole research process, “Rachum was always going back to her original design which was nature based; she wanted to make sure that it simulated nature. I was really proud of her accomplishments.”

Rachum was very hardworking during her third trimester and held great passion for finding a possible solution to such a prominent issue in the world. When Elisa Carranza, senior, saw Rachun’s Independent Research presentation, as a friend and as a spectator she concluded: “Emma is very environmentally conscious and I’m very proud of her for combining her interests while looking for a solution to a problem affecting the Earth.”

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