Rafael came to the Haven with his mother when he was just 5 years old. Though their journey was trying and difficult, they found support and stability at the Upper Valley Haven. Through their stay his mother was able to find a stable job and secure housing. Even after Rafael and his mother moved out of the Haven, he continued to stay active by participating first as a student and later as mentor in the Haven’s Afterschool Program. As a current Senior at Castleton State College, Rafael continues to be engaged with the Haven and we were thrilled when he informed us that he has been chosen to attend and present at the Annua Conference of the Northeastern Section of the Geological Society of America. Rafael took at moment to explain his research which focuses on BPA photo-degradation in sunlight surface waters:
“Basically, BPA from trash and other plastics are leaching, from dump sites and common litter, into streams and rivers. We have been looking at four water types around Castleton: agricultural, wetland, urban, and forest. Once BPA is in the water it becomes harmful, even though it is not soluble in water, it is however soluble in organic matter (lots in wetland and agricultural) and when the sun hits it with light and OH, radicals from the organic matter can break down the BPA. VERY slow degradation of BPA occurs without the radicals, so we are trying to get an idea of rates of decay of BPA in the water types, since rates have only been measured in vitro.”
He is hopeful that this research experience will help him find a job in the geological sciences field once he graduates in May. Here at the the Haven, we look forward to hearing how Rafael transitions into the workforce after college.
Learn more about the Haven’s After School Program…
Photos of Rafael in the After School Program at the Haven:
The Haven Through 40 Years
The Haven will commemorate its four decades of service to the region by releasing 40 stories of people, events, ideas, and services fundamental to our mission. We will be releasing these stories weekly, so check back often.