Chemistry Major Researches Oil Spill Cleanup

Ignite Your Future

Some of the most life-changing moments in a college student’s education can occur during experiences outside the walls of a classroom. At Gardner-Webb University, our students explore the world through field research, internships, study abroad, and community and global service.

Stanley, N.C., native Jacob Walley '17 conducted research on the largest marine oil spill in history. Deepwater Horizon, an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, exploded on April 20, 2010, and scientists are still investigating the effects of the spill and cleanup efforts.

As a student, Walley explored the subject through in-depth and hands-on study, and was invited to participate in a select research program at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. He worked closely with Gardner-Webb University chemistry alumnus, Dr. David Podgorski, a research scientist at the lab.

Walley examined the reaction between certain chemicals, crude oil, and sunlight. “The ultimate goal of this research is to create better solutions for future oil spill cleanup. There are a lot of holes in the existing research, and I am happy that I was able to help fill in some of those gaps,” noted Walley.

Gardner-Webb is a Christian, private, liberal arts university where we join with our students to redefine the classroom, foster transformative opportunities, and cultivate a community that celebrates faith through service and learning. A student-centered experience and rigorous academics prepare our students for careers and lives as diverse as they are. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb University.