Published: April 15, 2019

Nicollette LaroccoEnvironmental engineering PhD student Nicollette Laroco has been selected as a winner of a 2019 Fulbright Scholarship, one of the highest honors given to graduate students in the civilian research sector.

Laroco was recognized for her research on energy recovery from wastewater, particularly renewable natural gas, with Professor Mark Hernandez. For her Fulbright scholarship, she will be continuing her doctoral studies at the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain next year.  

In Barcelona, she plans to conduct research in an internationally recognized biogas investigation group with the goal of developing a novel approach to biogas purification. Current methods are limiting the recovery of this valuable resource due to their energy-intensive nature, as well as high capital and operational costs. Her Fulbright will contribute to improving environmental impacts and energy recovery in both developed and developing economies worldwide.

"The selection for a Fulbright award is an immense honor. I am looking forward to the opportunity to represent CU abroad, and privileged to be a part of a program that is devoted to increasing invaluable research collaboration, cross-country knowledge-transfer, and mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries," Laroco said.

In addition to this Fulbright Scholarship, Laroco has also received the RMWEA Innovative Research Award, an AWWA Scholarship, an AAUW Selected Professions Fellowship, the Colorado Environmental Management Society Scholarship and the Society of Women Engineers 2018 Past Presidents Scholarship.

“Nicollette is tremendously visionary for a person at her stage in career; I am sure the Fulbright reviewers saw this quality in her,” Hernandez said. “Her biogas research applies to both developed and developing economies and is in a critical area of international need.”   

The Fulbright Scholar is the world's largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. The program was created by legislation from Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946. Senator Fulbright was committed to international affairs and created the program as the premier international academic exchange program. Its presidentially appointed board annually selects candidates who have excelled within their fields to work and study in foreign countries.