Skip to Content

A Smoother Drive: UMD Grad Student Helps Refine Pothole Fix

Jackie Drazan at NRRI

Years ago, at a summer youth camp experience, Jackie Drazan first developed an interest in rocks.

Today, having followed that passion for geology, Drazan is close to completing her master’s degree in earth and environmental sciences at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Her time in the Swenson College of Science and Engineering has afforded her the opportunity not just to grow her knowledge, but also to apply it.

One highlight from this experience included taking on a real-world problem that Minnesotans face all too often, especially at this time of year: potholes. Drazan worked a summer job at UMD’s Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) helping Larry Zanko, a senior research fellow, further develop and demonstrate a road repair product he had previously invented.

The product, which found a new use for leftover taconite (a type of iron ore) that would otherwise go to waste, is the basis for a U of M startup company. Advanced Road Patch, launched in 2016 with the help of U of M Technology Commercialization’s Venture Center, is now working to bring the technology to market.

“I thought this was a great idea. It turns mining waste into something positive,” Drazan said. “And when I teach undergrad classes, I can talk about ideas for excess material, and get them thinking about the full life cycle.”

Drazan said she enjoyed conducting experiments to make the product better, finding more efficient ways to deploy it, and scouting out potholes for demo sites.

Learn more about Drazan’s experience at NRRI.

Kevin Coss

Kevin Coss

Kevin is a writer with the Office of the Vice President for Research.

coss@umn.edu

Latest Blog Posts

Collage showing a vaccine, a young male using a pipette in a lab, a microscopic view of a coronavirus, and people conducting field research in a pond

University of Minnesota researchers successfully competed for a record amount of external funding last year, pushing past the $1 billion mark for the first time in the University’s history.

Read More
Categories:
Graphic reading: Grant-in-Aid

The Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry, and Scholarship Program supports scholarly and artistic activities of faculty to foster excellence throughout UMN.

Read More
Categories:
Pennycress growing in a field

Through a combination of basic and applied science, researchers are bringing growers an economically feasible way to better protect soil and water.

Read More
Senior woman picking vegetables in garden

Research suggests nature has placed constraints on how much the underlying rate of aging can be slowed, even as nutrition and public health improve.

Read More