CORVALLIS - An Oregon State University doctoral candidate in public health has earned a Fulbright grant to conduct water quality research in rural Nepal during the 2001-02 academic year.

Rochelle Rainey's project is "Solar Disinfection of Drinking Water in Rural Nepalese Households." This will be Rainey's second long-term visit to Nepal. From 1988-90, she worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal and gained language skills. Her experience alerted her to the health needs related to water quality and sanitation and stirred an interest in environmental health, she said.

Rainey's study will test the use of solar energy in eliminating microbial contamination of drinking water at the point of use in households in rural Nepal during both the dry season and the summer monsoon season.

The study also will investigate the relationship between use of solar disinfection, general household sanitation, and the health status of the household members. Finally, Rainey will collect information on the local understanding of links between water quality, sanitation, and health and assess the sustainability of use of solar disinfection in the region.

"Rochelle Rainey is intellectually gifted and has an extraordinary set of skills and academic and work experience that are unique to international work," said Anna Harding, chair of OSU's Department of Public Health. "She is an outstanding graduate student with unlimited potential to be a leader in the public health community."

"For someone who plans to represent the United States in Nepal, few are more suitable than Ms. Rainey," said Chunhuei Chi, one of Rainey's professors in the department. "She has a very good understanding of the culture and society of Nepal."

Rainey will leave for Nepal in September. While in Nepal, she will be working with Nepal's Drinking Water and Sanitation Services as well as several non-governmental organizations. Rainey holds a master's degree in environmental health, which she completed after her Peace Corps experience.

While working on her master's degree, Rainey also worked full-time at OSU's Office of International Research and Development coordinating a natural resources research project in Senegal.

U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas proposed the Fulbright Program in international educational exchange to Congress in 1945. The Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sponsor the Fulbright Program. Financial support is provided by annual appropriations from and by participating governments and by host institutions in the United States and abroad.

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Marit Legler, 541-737-3772