Laura Vogel

Quantification of fecal indicator bacteria at the surface-water interface at four Great Lakes beaches

The health of the Great Lakes beaches has wide ranging effects on the surrounding environment and on the businesses that rely on the vitality of those areas, particularly tourism and recreational water activities. This study will focus particularly on non-point sources, primarily because point pollution sources (e.g. sewage outlets) are no longer sufficient in fully explaining the scope of problems plaguing the beaches. Groundwater is a source of interest requiring further investigation as there is still much to learn from the interactions between this non-point source and the damaging pollutants affecting beach ecology. In order to fully understand the impact of groundwater contribution, the processes (hydrological, biogeochemical, and microbial) need to be explored. My individual goal within this project is to address critical knowledge gaps regarding the persistence and transport of fecal bacteria in groundwater and sediment at freshwater beaches in the Great Lakes region.

Personal Background

Laura completed her undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering in sunny South Florida at the University of Miami. She then continued on to obtain her Master’s degree in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Environmental Engineering at the University of Miami. She is now very excited to team up with the RESTORE group at Western to pursue her PhD in Environmental Engineering with an emphasis in Environmental Microbiology.

Travel and Awards


  • Outstanding Graduating Senior in Environmental Engineering - 2013
  • American Water Works Association: Roy W. Likins Scholarship, Florida Section – 2012
  • Outstanding Service, Florida Water Environment Association - 2012
  • Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering Graduate Scholarship, University of Miami – 2012-2013
  • Provost’s Honor Roll, University of Miami – 2009-2013
  • Student Employee of the Year, University of Miami – 2011
  • Chi Epsilon Honor Society, University of Miami – 2011-2013
  • Research, Creativity and Innovation Forum – Poster Presentation – 2011
  • Atlantic Coast Conference Meeting of the Minds – Oral Presentation – 2011
  • Environmental Protection Agency National Beach Conference – Poster Presentation – 2011
  • Oceans and Human Health National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates Award – 2010
  • Oceans and Human Health Poster Session – Poster Presentation – 2010
  • Dean’s Scholarship, University of Miami – 2009