The Gregorian Institute Shield, composed of the crossed gold and silver keys of the Papal Insignia, an open book with the words 'Via Veritas Vita' ('The Way, the Truth, and the Life') written on its pages, three golden six-sided stars on a red banner, and a Germanic cross.

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Raven Awarded for Clean Water Breakthrough


The Gregorian Fellows leadership program at Benedictine College is designed to train and launch Catholic leaders rooted in their faith and ready to be effective in contemporary society. By forming its students deeply in the mission, advancing its mission through alumni in every walk of life, and extending its mission regionally and nationally, Benedictine College hopes to Transform Culture in America.

The American Membrane Technology Association announced that the 2020 recipient of the Ian C. Watson Fellowship for Membrane Advancement is Benedictine College alumnus Joseph Barnes.

Barnes, a 2020 graduate of Benedictine College from Spearfish, S.D., was a chemical engineering major and a Gregorian Fellow. He is now a graduate student at the University of Wyoming., where his grant award will apply.

Said the American Membrane Technology Association: “Advanced treatment of alternative supplies is becoming increasingly critical for long-term water security, and most such alternatives — including brackish groundwater, seawater, and recycled wastewater — require both membrane filtration and desalination technology. Accordingly, innovations in membrane technology have significant potential to reduce the cost, energy, and environmental impact of advanced treatment, yielding clean, safe, abundant, and cost-effective water supplies across the United States and throughout the world.”

The work that led to Barnes’ development began with an internship the Gregorian reported years ago.

“I first developed an interest in membrane-based water treatment while working as an intern at the Idaho National Laboratory on their forward osmosis research,” said Barnes. “I am honored to receive this fellowship to support my work on smart membranes and selective recovery, which has the potential to revolutionize produced water treatment in the oil and gas industry.”

The Cardinal Newman Society once featured Barnes as an example of a top-achieving student who chose a Newman Guide school.

“As a National Merit Finalist with a perfect ACT score, Joseph Barnes … was offered full-ride scholarships to colleges and major universities across the country,” Kelly Salomon reported. “But he was committed to studying engineering at a faithful institution that takes its Catholic mission seriously.”

That led him to Benedictine College’s Chemical Engineering program, the only Chemical Engineering program at a Newman Guide school.

Now Barnes is an Environmental Engineering graduate student at the University of Wyoming studying Nanofibrous Membranes for the Selective Recovery of Nonaqueous Phases from Industrial Brines under the guidance of Dr. Jonathan Brant.

“Joseph’s work has a multiple of beneficial outcomes that are expected to transform how membrane separations are applied,” said Dr. Brant. “Already, Joseph shows all the markings of an outstanding membrane scientist and being awarded the Ian C. Watson Fellowship will serve as a solid foundation for his growth as a leader in the membrane community.”

Barnes also led Benedictine College’s cross country team win 2018’s conference championship, represented the team at the national championships, and was named a 2018 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athlete for academic excellence.


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Benedictine College

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Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.