Environmental Sciences Program, grants give graduate students training in faculty research

Graduate students in the Environmental Sciences Program deal with real world environmental issues by conducting frontline research and receiving training in faculty research, according to program chair and professor Zhi-Qing Lin.

Environmental Sciences alumna Erika Hussar running chemical analyses. Her thesis research was published in the international journal, 'Water, Soil, and Air Pollution" in Nov. 2012

Lin said students in the program are conducting research projects that are truly interdisciplinary and using state-of-the-art research techniques and instruments to provide students with refined knowledge of environmental issues at the local and global scale.

“The graduate program is designed to enhance and promote students’ professional education and career opportunities in a wide area of interests,” Lin said. “In addition to seven program faculty members, the program also has approximately 25 affiliated faculty members from many other departments on campus, including biology, chemistry, anthropology, political sciences and geography.”

Students in the program experience hands-on learning opportunities with faculty members that ensure that graduates will be technologically competent in addressing complicated and challenging environmental issues, according to Lin.

Lin said students in the program are involved in research projects that are externally funded by important funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

According to Lin, his research team was supported by the EPA to conduct sustainable phytomanagement of phytoremediation wastes research, while environmental sciences professor Bill Retzlaff’s team received a research grant from the EPA to conduct green roof studies.

Lin mentioned that environmental sciences professor Melissa Chan is the recipient of the 2014 Vaughnie Lindsay New Investigator Award. Chan and her students are investigating how the blood brain barrier works.  It could potentially impact absorption of potentially harmful consumer products, such as pesticides or pharmaceuticals products from blood to the brain.

Lastly, with support from the 2014 iUTAH Research Catalyst Grant, environmental and geography professor Adriana Martinez and her students will examine changes in sediment dynamics, channel shape and vegetation along the Provo River in Utah, according to Lin.

In addition, according to Lin, graduate student Vincent Giammaria won first place at the 2014 SIUE Graduate Symposium held April 1, 2014, with his oral presentation.  It was titled, ‘Environmental Justice in Urban Development Planning: Mobility and Accessibility in the Transportation Corridor.’ Lin said Giammaria is in the Environmental Policy and Public Administration track under the supervision of environmental sciences professor Nicholas Guehlstorf.




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