Thursday, November 14, 2019

UIS student Natalie Kerr presents her research at the international Falling Walls Lab competition in Berlin, Germany

Natalie Kerr, a senior majoring in chemistry at the University of Illinois Springfield from Washington, Illinois, recently presented her research at the international Falling Walls Lab competition in Berlin, Germany on Nov. 8, 2019.

She earned the all-expenses-paid trip after winning the Falling Walls Lab Illinois competition to earn the title of Illinois Young Innovator of the Year.

In Berlin, Kerr presented her research on “Breaking the wall of nutrient pollution,” where she proposed an environmentally friendly solution to curb the problems created by excess nitrates carried via agricultural and urban runoff.

“The people that I met throughout the whole conference were all there to better the world and support current research and innovation,” said Kerr. “My fellow competitors taught me so much. The compassion, support, and lifelong bonds that we built despite being each other’s ‘competition’ said a lot about the international and interdisciplary collaboration that is being advocated for and that is becoming more and more necessary in our world.”

The Illinois Falling Walls Lab competition was presented by the Illinois Innovation Network, a group of 15 university-based hubs across the state that aims to boost Illinois’ economy through entrepreneurship, research and workforce development.

Kerr won the Illinois Young Innovator of the Year title against a field of 12 finalists, young researchers and entrepreneurs who represented five of the state’s public universities.

Falling Walls Lab is a fast-paced contest where competitors have just three minutes to propose and answer questions on a research-based solution to a global problem. A total of 100 students from all around the world presented at the international Falling Walls Lab Finale in Berlin.

Before the competition, participants got to talk with editors from the academic publishing company Springer Nature, the German Academic Exchange Service or DAAD and prominent German research institutions.

Watch Kerr's presentation at the 2:55 mark
Direct Link