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White House Council on Environmental Quality Acting Chair Michael Boots, former President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) winner and current EPA intern Apoorva Rangan, Administrator Gina McCarthy, new PEYA winner May Wang, new PEYA award winner Deepika Kurup, and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren before the PEYA awards ceremony. (COURTESY)

White House honors Nashua teen for environmental stewardship


NASHUA — A city student who made headlines after being named the recipient of the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Award in 2012 is again being recognized for her achievements, this time from the White House.

Deepika Kurup, a junior at Nashua High School South, has been awarded a President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA), which was distributed jointly by the White House Council on Environmental Equality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Using a light-weight photocatalytic composite, Kurup has found an innovative solution to harnessing solar energy for water purification, a technology that she believes has the power to save millions of lives throughout the world.

Kurup’s project also won her the 2014 U.S. Stockholm Jr. Water Prize earlier this year.

“Her project also developed several different prototypes for real-world applications. She has filed a patent and plans to deploy her invention in places around the world that are affected by water pollution,” according to a news release from EPA New England.

Her method is described as simple and cost-effective — the composite uses solar energy to degrade organics in water and rapidly inactivates bacteria.

“I am inspired to see such creative and promising work coming from one of New England’s younger citizens,” Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office, said in a statement. “The solutions to our environmental concerns need to come from all directions. Ms. Kurup’s innovative work, and that of the other PEYA winners, bodes well for a cleaner and healthier environment in the future.”

Kurup was one of 60 students from throughout nine states to be honored for environmental stewardship during a recent ceremony at the White House.

According to Kurup, the daughter of Meena and Pradeep Kurup of Nashua, more than 1 billion people throughout the world do not have access to pure drinking water, with some individuals spending up to four hours a day collecting water that is filled with germs and bacteria.

“That is time wasted that could be spent getting an education, reading or raising children,” Kurup said earlier.

As far as her recent award from the White House, Kurup said she is honored to be a PEYA recipient; the recognition ceremony in the state’s capitol was an amazing experience she added.

“I believe that environmental education is very important,” she said.

The Nashua teenager and young scientist may eventually pursue a career in neurology, as she is fascinated by the human brain and its functions.

khoughton@newstote.com

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