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News Releases from Region 10

EPA Awards Environmental Science Fellowships to University of Washington and Washington State University Grad Students

Contact Information: 
Suzanne Skadowski (skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov)

(Seattle – September 28, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Science to Achieve Results or STAR fellowships for environmental and public health research to four graduate students at the University of Washington and Washington State University. STAR graduate fellows are selected from a large number of applications in a highly competitive review process. Master’s students are awarded up to $88,000 over two years and PhD students are awarded up to $132,000 over three years to support their graduate research.

University of Washington

Marissa Smith, PhD research: Tracking Chemicals in Consumer Products to Protect Children’s Health

In order to support the prioritization of health regulations and protect children’s health, this research will develop a framework that integrates chemical toxicity with health exposures that are unique to consumer products. This will be achieved by investigating long-term trends in chemicals found in consumer products, household dust and how they can be measured in the body.

Jessica Haskins, master’s research: Modeling Urban Air Pollution Impacts on Downwind Rural Areas

The air pollutant Nitryl Chloride is formed at night, in urban areas, when salt containing particles come into contact with pollution containing Nitrogen Oxides. This pollution moves downwind from its urban sources to more rural areas where it affects smog and particulate matter production. The research will use air sampling data from the northeastern U.S. and chemical analysis integrated into a global air quality model.

Kathryn Cogert, PhD research: Creating Climate-Friendly Wastewater Treatment

A new innovation in wastewater treatment is to remove Nitrogen by using anaerobic, ammonium oxidizing bacteria. This process produces less sludge, emits less Carbon Dioxide and reduces energy use. Recently, it has been discovered that ammonium oxidizing microbes may also be used to remove nitrogen from wastewater. However, their usefulness in wastewater treatment is not yet known. This research will use a systematic approach to understand how these microbes could be used in place of or combined with bacteria to improve wastewater treatment performance and efficiency.

Washington State University

Eric Dexter, PhD research: Investigating Invasive Species in Pacific Northwest Coastal Waters

Invasive aquatic organisms can cause serious damage to power generation facilities, degrade fisheries, impede recreation on lakes and rivers, and promote blooms of toxic algae. This research will investigate underlying invasion mechanisms including competition between species and transportation between bodies of water. The research will use cutting-edge genetic technologies, recently developed ecological modeling methods, and long-term observation of Pacific Northwest plankton communities.

Since the STAR Fellowship Program began more than 20 years ago, graduate fellows have engaged in innovative research opportunities leading some to become prominent leaders in environmental science. The program has awarded nearly 2000 students a total of more than $65 million in funding since 1995. This year’s STAR Fellows are poised to become the next generation of environmental professionals who can make significant impacts in environmental science and beyond.

Learn more about the STAR fellows at: https://www.epa.gov/research-fellowships/graduate-research-internship-program-grip-opportunities-epa.