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Meet the Environmental Science & Technology Early Career Advisory Board

Environmental Science & Technology is proud to announce the appointment of its first Early Career Advisory Board. The group collectively represents the full breadth of the best of Environmental Science & Technology from excellent scholarship to leading cutting-edge research and beyond.

Take a few minutes getting to know members of Environmental Science & Technology’s Early Career Advisory Board:

Peizhe Sun, Tianjin University

Tell us about yourself.

After receiving my B.S. degree in Environmental Engineering from Tongji University in 2009, I went to the U.S. I spent seven years at the Georgia Institute of Technology as a Ph.D. student and a Postdoc. I am currently working in the School of Environmental Science and Engineering at Tianjin University, China.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

Environmental research is often problem-oriented. My research majorly focuses on environmental problems associated with pharmaceutical contaminants (PhCs). Specifically, my group is making efforts to understand the underlying mechanisms governing the transport/transformation/eco-impact of PhCs in various environmental and engineering systems; and develop novel technologies for effective PhC pollution control.

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

Environmental issues can be global or regional. I hope to introduce current and emerging concerns in China to the readers of Environmental Science & Technology. I would also like to make bridges between young researchers, especially those who specialize in different areas.

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

From my perspective, some major challenges may include: Lacking opportunities to participate in international network/organizations; Visibility; Career guidance; Balancing time between teaching and research.

Alberto Tiraferri, Politecnico di Torino

Tell us about yourself.

I am an Associate Professor at Politecnico di Torino, Italy, where I coordinate the Clean Water Center, an interdepartmental center for research and technology transfer in water and wastewater management. I am also the vice-president of Spring, a small Italian N.G.O. devoted to public outreach to increase environmental awareness, particularly around water issues. I obtained my Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering at Yale University. I embrace complexity, especially when I cannot grasp it.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

In my group and with my collaborators, I develop technological solutions to purify water and extract other beneficial resources from aqueous streams. Specifically, my current focus is on membrane-based and advanced oxidation processes. We are also interested in promoting the coupling of renewable energy with these technologies.

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

With the help of my fellow Board Members, I will identify and promote emerging areas of research around key issues and highlight the importance of interdisciplinary work. I also hope to share and bring the perspective, outlook, and advances from my corner of the world to the table.

Please can you highlight an article published in Environmental Science & Technology that you found particularly interesting/ innovative?

Hybrid Analysis of Blue Water Consumption and Water Scarcity Implications at the Global, National, and Basin Levels in an Increasingly Globalized World, published in 2016, highlights how virtual water trade relates to water stress. This type of system-wide thinking is necessary, in my opinion, for the improvement of water policy, technologies, and to combine one with the other soon.

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

Among many, one challenge is to create an environment in their research group where young researchers and students can thrive and feel valued. Success in developing new scientists may be more difficult to achieve than that in the development of new science, if only because the latter follows naturally from the former. Another challenge is finding a unique and relevant voice within both our work environment and our scientific field.

Zhanyun Wang, ETH Zürich

Tell us about yourself.

I am currently a senior researcher in the Ecological Systems Design Group at ETH Zürich, Switzerland, where I received my doctoral degree and postdoctoral training. Before moving to Switzerland in 2009, I was born and grew up in Shanghai, China, and then moved to Munich, Germany, in 2006 for my M.S. at the Technical University of Munich.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

My research interests focus primarily on understanding the lifecycles and risks of chemicals in the anthroposphere and natural environment, including novel cheminformatic approaches to filling in data gaps. Also, I am interested in exploring novel and pragmatic strategies and approaches to fostering sound chemicals management, enabling a circular economy, and strengthening the science-policy interface.

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

I hope to bring ideas and perspectives that help to engage scientists, particularly those in their early careers or developing countries, to develop the journal further. I also hope to collaborate with the editors, the editorial board members, and other early-career board members to identify emerging thematic issues of research from both science and policy perspectives.

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

One major challenge is to find the right balance of spending time on activities that are important for career development (e.g., publishing papers) and activities that are interesting for the greater good of society but may not be rewarded in terms of immediate career development (e.g., work at the science-policy interface).

Shihong Lin, Vanderbilt University

Tell us about yourself.

I am an assistant professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University. I obtained my Ph.D. from Duke University in 2012 and was a postdoc at Yale University from 2013-2014, before joining Vanderbilt at the beginning of 2015. I grew up in China and attended college studying Environmental Engineering at Harbin Institute of Technology.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

My research mainly focuses on water separation technologies with applications in water/wastewater treatment and desalination. I am interested in developing new processes and materials and performing fundamental analysis to make water separation more efficient, robust, and sustainable. Our recent work involves selective solute separation, resource recovery from wastewater and brine, and energy-efficient crystallization processes.

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

I appreciate this great opportunity given by the Early Career Board to help build the Environmental Science & Technology community, which I always feel I’ve belonged to since I was a graduate student. I am interested in being a representative of early career researchers and communicate to the Editorial Board their experience, suggestions, and concerns about publishing in Environmental Science & Technology. I also want to leverage my technical expertise to help the editors promote cutting-edge research in water separation via various mechanisms, including inviting Viewpoints and Perspectives articles and organizing Focus/Special Issues. I will also be an ambassador of Environmental Science & Technology and attract the very best manuscripts in the field.

Please can you highlight an article published in Environmental Science & Technology that you found particularly interesting/ innovative?

Microbial Cleavage of C–F Bonds in Two C6 Per- and Polyfluorinated Compounds via Reductive Defluorination

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

I believe some challenges are universally applicable to Early Career Researchers worldwide, such as maintaining research productivity and a good work-life balance. For those working in environmental science and engineering in the U.S., I believe a common challenge is securing enough research funding to maintain a vibrant research group. Due to the very strong competition for research funding and the correspondingly low success rate of proposals (as compared to some other countries), Early Career Researchers in the U.S. have to spend a substantial portion of their time writing research proposals (that likely would not be funded), which erodes their time for other more productive scholar activities.

Di He, Guangdong University of Technology


Tell us about yourself.

I received my Ph.D. degree in Environmental Engineering at the University of New South Wales (U.N.S.W., Australia) in 2014 and did my postdoctoral and lecturer position at U.N.S.W. afterward. I joined the Institute of Environmental & Ecological Engineering at the Guangdong University of Technology in 2018 as a professor to start my independent research career. I have three lovely daughters, Iris, and two new-born twin sisters, Alyssa and Rosella.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

My research areas are mainly focused on: 1) Iron chemistry in natural and engineered aqueous systems, 2) Advanced oxidation processes in water and wastewater treatment, and 3) electrochemically and/or membrane-based technologies for waste resource recovery.

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

As a member of the Early Career Board of Environmental Science & Technology, it will be interesting to build connections among editors, reviewers, researchers, and readers across industries. Apart from innovative research, some insights into industry needs and the solutions to engineering problems can be brought to the community. Finally, I hope to collaborate with other Early Career Board members to identify and highlight emerging topics and exciting findings.

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

As an early career academic researcher, innovative research is the key point, but how to transfer the lab research to industry innovation is very challenging. Funding collection and team buildup are also the major challenges for most Early Career Researchers.

Jeseth Delgado Vela, Howard University


Tell us about yourself.

I am an Assistant Professor at Howard University. I completed my undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and completed my Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in Environmental Engineering. I enjoy traveling, cooking (and eating) new things, and high-intensity interval training.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

My research focuses on microbial ecology in urban water systems. I am interested in understanding microbial interactions in these systems to improve sustainability. In particular, I study how we might harness and control microbial biofilms in urban water environments.

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

I am interested in how we might be able to enhance reproducibility in our community. I believe Environmental Science & Technology can pave the way by developing policies to enhance data and analysis availability for the community. I am excited to collaborate with the Early Career Advisory Board to develop thematic issues and invited perspectives. I also serve as a board member on NewPI Slack and, in that role, interact with early-stage P.I.s across diverse disciplines and institutions. I hope to help bring some of these diverse perspectives to Environmental Science & Technology.

Please can you highlight an article published in Environmental Science & Technology that you found particularly interesting/ innovative?

Anaerobic Oxidation of Methane Coupled with Dissimilatory Nitrate Reduction to Ammonium Fuels Anaerobic Ammonium Oxidation

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

Obviously, COVID-19 has brought a lot of new challenges for Early Career Researchers. A lot of environmental science research involves long-term experiments, so the ramifications on new P.I.s building their labs will linger beyond the pandemic. There is so much variability on how much institutional support there was during the pandemic for early career researchers. This is challenging because, for tenure, we solicit reviews from external reviewers that may not understand these various institutional contexts.

Gregory LeFevre, University of Iowa

Tell us about yourself.

I am currently an assistant professor of environmental engineering and science at the University of Iowa, where I started in 2016. Before that, I was a postdoc at Stanford, did my M.S./Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, and B.S. at Michigan Tech (all in environmental engineering). Outside of work, I enjoy outdoor activities and taking my little kids out exploring in the woods.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

Our lab’s scientific goals are to discover and elucidate novel (bio)transformation products and pathways of emerging organic contaminants, to inform an improved design of so-called ‘engineered natural treatment systems’ that leverage natural energetic processes to capture and degrade non-point pollutants sustainably. We study stormwater quality/green infrastructure, new-market pesticide fate, plant uptake/metabolism, and water reuse.

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

I hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board my perspective and background, which blends cutting edge environmental chemistry and engineering with ecological energetic processes and impacts. I hope to serve as an intermediate between the rising stars entering the field and those with significant wisdom and experience above me, aiming to bring more voices to the environmental sciences through fundamental rigor and impact. I hope to anchor why we are all here: studying and solving environmental problems to protect the ecosystem and human health.

Please can you highlight an article published in Environmental Science & Technology that you found particularly interesting/ innovative?

One of my all-time favorite articles in Environmental Science & Technology that I reference continuously, and I believe it has helped shift our field is: Identifying Small Molecules via High Resolution Mass Spectrometry: Communicating Confidence. This paper set forth a new standardized framework that allowed researchers to share important novel discoveries that may have otherwise been overlooked while not overstating results.

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

Early Career Researchers’ biggest challenge is just trying to balance everything; many are trying to launch research labs while also having some teaching expectations and often young families. I would say the biggest worry in managing a lab is the uncertainty risk in timing of funding cycles to match the needs of people in the lab.

Niveen Ismail, Smith College

Tell us about yourself.

I am currently an Assistant Professor at Smith College. Before joining the faculty at Smith, I received my Ph.D. from Stanford University. When I am not in the lab or the classroom, I enjoy exploring the mountains and trail running.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

I am broadly interested in the use of natural treatment systems to improve water quality. In my lab, we are currently working with different zooplankton species to understand their role in removing pollutants. We study the interaction of zooplankton with a variety of microbial pollutants and well as nanoparticles.

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

I look forward to sharing my experiences conducting research at an all-women’s liberal arts college (primarily undergraduate institution) and using Environmental Science & Technology articles as important teaching tools in the classroom and laboratory. I also hope to provide input regarding thematic issues that highlight interdisciplinary research that can reach a broad audience. I am excited to exchange ideas and collaborate with other board members and editors.

Please can you highlight an article published in Environmental Science & Technology that you found particularly interesting/ innovative?

As a researcher who works with microbial pollutants, I found the various articles available in the March Virtual Issue “Overview of Research on the Fate and Behavior of Enveloped Viruses in the Environment” very interesting and a great reminder of previously published research that is extremely relevant today.

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

I greatly value and enjoy teaching, research, and mentoring and invest a lot of time in these activities. Finding adequate time as an Early Career Researcher to dedicate to all three of these activities is a major challenge. Managing research expectations and finding the right approach to running a lab, and providing mentorship can be challenging.

Amanda Giang, University of British Columbia

Tell us about yourself.

I am an Assistant Professor in the Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability and Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam People). I received my Ph.D. and M.S. in Engineering Systems and Technology Policy at M.I.T., and my BASc in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto. Outside of the lab, I am an avid environmental fiction reader and reality T.V. watcher.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

My research group uses models and data science tools to explore policy questions related to pollution, climate, and energy. Our goal is to support decision-making for more sustainable, just, and healthy futures. Right now, some key areas of interest are air pollution and environmental injustice, and the air quality and climate impacts of energy transitions.

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

I hope to collaborate with other Board members to identify emerging themes of interest from an early career perspective. I also hope that I can be a receptive listener: I see this as an opportunity to learn more about the interests and experiences of other Early Career Researchers (particularly those from communities often underrepresented in fields of environmental science, technology, and policy) and to explore how Environmental Science & Technology can support us all in conducting and communicating transformative research.

Please can you highlight an article published in Environmental Science & Technology that you found particularly interesting/ innovative?

Fossil Energy Use, Climate Change Impacts, and Air Quality-Related Human Health Damages of Conventional and Diversified Cropping Systems in Iowa, U.S.A.

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

A challenge that I, and I think many other Early Career Researchers, have faced is learning to juggle lots of new responsibilities in the process of establishing an independent research career. Striving to be an effective researcher, teacher, mentor, manager, a colleague (not to mention all the other roles we play outside of work), all at the same time, can be both exciting and overwhelming. In particular, I think this past year has highlighted for me how prioritizing well-being (for ourselves and our teams) is also something that requires conscious effort.

Kimberly M. Parker, Washington University, St. Louis

Tell us about yourself.

I am an Assistant Professor of Energy, Environmental, and Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis with expertise in environmental organic chemistry. I received my Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2016 and was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow at ETH Zürich before starting my research group in 2018. Outside of work, I enjoy playing with my two dogs and spending time in the garden with my husband.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

My group’s major goal is to enable the safe and sustainable use of emerging agricultural biotechnology by assessing and addressing its benefits and risks to food production, health, and the environment. We are particularly focused on investigating the environmental fate and impact of chemicals produced by and used on novel genetically modified organisms in agriculture. We also apply our expertise in organic chemistry to study halogenation and oxidation reactions in aquatic systems.

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

I am committed to supporting the Environmental Science & Technology community of authors and readers in our mission to conduct and share exceptional research to understand and address environmental challenges.

Please can you highlight an article published in Environmental Science & Technology that you found particularly interesting/ innovative?

Krista Wigginton’s work on understanding the mechanisms by which viruses are inactivated has been very influential to me. Her 2012 study with Tamar Kohn encouraged me to apply chemistry principles to investigate biological and biochemical systems.

Virus Inactivation Mechanisms: Impact of Disinfectants on Virus Function and Structural Integrity

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

Developing innovative and impactful research areas requires dedicated investment in learning new skills and taking risks. At the same time, there is significant internal and external pressure for Early Career Researchers to become quickly productive after starting their independent careers. Obtaining and protecting the time and resources to obtain new expertise is a major challenge for Early Career Researchers attempting to build innovative research areas.

Fang Zhang, Tsinghua University

Tell us about yourself.

I am currently an associate professor from the School of Environment, Tsinghua University. I got my B.S. both in Environmental Engineering and Economics from Tsinghua University in 2008, and then joined Dr. Bruce E. Logan’s research group at Penn State University, where I got my M.S. in 2010 and Ph.D. in 2012. I was a postdoctoral researcher at Penn State from 2012-2014 before I returned to China.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

I’m now working on the transport and fate of contaminants in soil and groundwater systems, site remediation materials and technologies, and drinking water purification technologies for naturally impaired groundwater. I strive to develop green and sustainable remediation technologies based on electrokinetic/electrochemical principles, for enhanced mass transfer and effective contaminant removals.

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

The first challenge is to find an exciting new area that is not of a simple continuation from one’s Ph.D. or Postdoc and to get funding in that new area. How to balance work and life is also very challenging, especially for women Early Career Researchers.

Gerrad Jones, Oregon State University

Tell us about yourself.

To understand my research, it is important to know some of my background. I’ve studied wildlife biology (B.S./M.S.), environmental engineering/chemistry (M.S./Ph.D.), and inorganic geochemistry (postdoc). While these fields seem disparate, environmental problems do not fit nicely into discrete boxes or individual packages. Many problems simply cannot be solved with the tools provided by a single discipline, and each provides different tools and ways of thinking about ecosystem health. As an engineer, I find it incredibly useful to draw on the tools used in ecology and chemistry, and vice versa.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

My overarching hypothesis is that chemical information in the environment is not random. Instead, the chemicals found in a water sample are a record of everything that has occurred upstream. By mining the chemical data present within a sample and identifying the diagnostic signatures associated with different ecosystem processes, we can simultaneously monitor all processes occurring within a watershed simply by collecting and analyzing a single water sample. My work centers on using multivariate analyses to link the non-target chemical features in the environment with their corresponding sources or processes in the environment.

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

I am fascinated by multivariate statistics and machine learning analyses, and many environmental chemists have limited exposure to these tools. I hope my expertise will help the field move forward positively as it continues to incorporate multivariate tools in complex data analyses.

Please can you highlight an article published in Environmental Science & Technology that you found particularly interesting/ innovative?

Fall Creek Monitoring Station: Highly Resolved Temporal Sampling to Prioritize the Identification of Nontarget Micropollutants in a Small Stream

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

Early career researchers receive considerable pressure to write more grants, publish more papers, and graduate more students. This leaves little space and time for other equally worthy pursuits, such as promoting social equity and justice. While grants can be hammered out in a matter of weeks, building trusting relationships with disadvantaged communities is a slow process that takes considerable time and energy, which comes at the expense of “tenure worthy” activities. Instead of finding hidden talents within underrepresented groups, the pressures associated with tenure drive Early Career Researchers to rely heavily on G.P.A.s and high-test scores when recruiting graduate students, which perpetuates the status quo. A major challenge for conscientious Early Career scientists will be to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion while pursuing the traditional paths to tenure.

Julie Korak, University of Colorado Boulder

Tell us about yourself.

I am an Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. Before starting a faculty position, I worked at the Bureau of Reclamation (U.S. Department of the Interior) as a water treatment engineer. My research spans fundamental lab-based studies to community-oriented field studies. I am also a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Colorado. Water is a central theme in my life. Outside of research, I love fly fishing and rowing.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

My research interests are broadly focused on water treatment. My graduate research focused on using optical sensing techniques to characterize dissolved organic matter (D.O.M.) in drinking water treatment processes. My research interests shifted gears at the Bureau of Reclamation. More recently, I focus on improving the economics of ion exchange for small decentralized systems through waste brine management.

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

I am excited and honored to join the Environmental Science & Technology Early Career Advisory Board. I hope this cohort will help build bridges and strengthen interdisciplinary networks for all early career researchers within the Environmental Science & Technology community. In particular, I hope my experience outside of academia can offer additional perspective on how research impact is assessed.

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

The primary challenge is that many Early Career Researchers step into a very different role from most graduate and postdoctoral experiences. Responsibilities expand within an institution (e.g., research, teaching, and service), and our research success now hinges on how we build and lead a research team. It can be daunting to simultaneously build team infrastructure internally and work to build collaborations externally. More recently, COVID-19 impacted many Early Career Researchers. It is difficult to train new students and build a foundation with social distancing.

Abhishek Chaudhary, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)

Tell us about yourself.

I have been an Assistant Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T.) Kanpur in the Department of Civil Engineering since December 2018. Before joining I.I.T.K., I held Postdoctoral Researcher and later a Senior Scientist position at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, Switzerland. I also earned my Ph.D. from ETH Zürich in 2015. Before that, I worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) from 2009-2012 as an Environmental Engineer. I obtained his Master of Science (M.S.) from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, and B.Tech. from I.I.T. Roorkee, India.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest).

Hedonistic lifestyles and the large human population are the two major underlying causes of global environmental degradation, which threatens economies and societies. Rather than designing solutions for individual environmental problems in silos, an integrated approach is needed to avoid trade-offs with social and economic dimensions. My research is dedicated to using interdisciplinary science and generating quantitative knowledge through data analytics that can help individuals and policymakers design strategies for transitioning towards sustainable consumption, production, and human behaviors. Our research areas include life cycle assessment, sustainable agriculture and diets, biodiversity conservation, environmental modeling, and sustainable infrastructure. With the right data, strong will, and international human cooperation, we can improve planetary health and enter the age of sustainability.

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

I hope to bring a diversity of ideas and perspectives to the board and highlight the value of interdisciplinary research that simultaneously addresses the environmental, economic, and social aspects of sustainability at the global or local level. This can help Environmental Science & Technology expand its audience base and encourage submissions from top scientists hitherto publishing in other reputed journals.

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

The major challenge is how to get the best out of students working under you.

Collin P. Ward, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Tell us about yourself.

I am an Assistant Scientist in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts. I’m a Midwestern transplant. I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, received a B.S. and M.S. in Environmental Science at Ohio State University, and a Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Michigan. I came to WHOI as a postdoc and never left. When not working, I enjoy hanging with family, friends, and dog, attending indie rock concerts, visiting art museums, discovering new tasty food and drink, and spending time outside.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

My group is generally interested in the oxidation of organic carbon in aquatic ecosystems. We study the rates, pathways (e.g., photochemical vs. biological), and oxidation products (i.e., partial oxidation to new organic molecules vs. complete oxidation to CO2). The types of organic carbon we study vary widely, from dissolved organic carbon draining arctic permafrost soils to pollutants like crude oil and plastics leaking into our oceans. Given our diverse research interests, our analytical toolbox is like a swiss army knife. We use relatively simple, routine tools like trace gas analysis and optical spectroscopy and more advanced, specialized platforms like high-resolution mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance, and isotopes (e.g., 18O, 13C, 14C).

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

One of my favorite aspects of science is building connections between research areas that seem immiscible at first. Over time, these connections lead to new discoveries at a rate that often outpaces what is possible if we were to stay comforted in our disciplinary silos. In my lab, we tend to leverage knowledge and technologies from the carbon cycling community to understand how organic pollutants behave in surface waters, and vice versa. I have also enjoyed and am committed to communicating science to stakeholders beyond academia, including the general public, legislators, and industry. I hope that these perspectives help identify emerging research areas to highlight in Environmental Science & Technology.

Please can you highlight an article published in Environmental Science & Technology that you found particularly interesting/ innovative?

This is a tough question because Environmental Science & Technology publishes so much high-quality science! I opted to choose two articles that directly influenced my career trajectory and my current research program. The first (Singlet Oxygen in the Coupled Photochemical and Biochemical Oxidation of Dissolved Organic Matter) used high-resolution mass spectrometry to track the incorporation of 18O-labelled oxygen into dissolved organic carbon via singlet oxidation reactions. This isotope labeling approach substantially expanded my way of thinking as a young scientist, so much so that my lab regularly uses isotopes in our photochemistry research.

The second (Oil Weathering after the Deepwater Horizon Disaster Led to the Formation of Oxygenated Residues) tracked the oxidative transformation of crude oil that leaked from the Deepwater Horizon spill of 2010. I read this paper and immediately thought it would be fun to apply knowledge and approaches from the carbon cycling community to understand better how fast the oil was oxidized upon release. This is one of the benefits of reading Environmental Science & Technology – it bridges so many disciplines that connections can easily be drawn to move the ball forward faster.

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

Early career researchers face many challenges: grant and paper writing, accounting, recruiting, mentoring, identifying strong collaborators, conducting research, service, accepting rejection, and establishing a work-life balance, etc. It’s tough to stay on top of it all. But two challenges rise above the rest: establishing a more diverse scientific community and addressing mental illness within the scientific community. Both of these challenges have been brewing for decades and have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, so the order is tall. The first step I’ve taken is to educate myself and my scientific community about the problem. For example, I recently curated a symposium (https://seagrant.whoi.edu/a-sea-change-oceanographers-learn-from-psychologists-about-systemic-racism-in-america/) where psychologists are researching systemic racism and how to combat it share their insights with the marine science community.

I look forward to working with the team at Environmental Science & Technology to identify additional ways we can tackle these grand challenges together.

Amina Schartup, Scripps Institution of Oceanography - University of California San Diego

Tell us about yourself.

I am an Assistant Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (S.I.O.). Before coming to S.I.O., I was a Research Associate at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. I also spent two years as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the N.S.F. Office of Polar Program–Arctic Section, developing a federal guidance document on pursuing ethical research in the Arctic. I obtained a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Connecticut, an M.S. in geochemistry from the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, and a B.S. in chemistry from Paris Descartes University.

I was born in Azerbaijan (U.S.S.R.) to a Malian father and Azerbaijani-Russian mother and lived in Mauritania, Mali, and France before arriving in the U.S. in 2006 to start a Ph.D. I speak Russian, French, and English fluently. I am a mother of 4: a 13-year-old boy, a 9-year-old girl (both born during my Ph.D.), one cat, and one dog.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

My research area is trace metal biogeochemistry, with a particular interest in the mercury cycle. My focus on mercury allows me to quantitatively analyze an entire exposure pathway, from mercury properties in air and water to its accumulation in biota, work at the science-policy interface, and guide communities in their decision-making.

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

I hope to be able to convert my diverse personal and professional experiences into actionable solutions.

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

I cannot speak for all E.C.R., but I think the greatest challenge I see is balancing ever-increasing personal, professional, and societal needs. It seems to me that on all three fronts, the challenges have been growing. We spend more time than ever raising and interacting with our children (and with COVID-19: homeschooling!), the academic research and funding landscape is extremely competitive, and all those pursuing research in “Environmental Science and Technology” are tasked with understanding how our planet is changing and providing solutions.

Susana Y. Kimura, University of Calgary

Tell us about yourself.

I am an Assistant Professor and Canadian Research Chair (Tier 2) in Analytical and Aquatic Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Calgary in Canada. Before joining the University of Calgary, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina. I obtained my M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and my B.Eng. from C.E.T.Y.S. Universidad in Mexico. In my free time, I enjoy Iyengar yoga and Zumba.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

My research focuses on understanding the formation and removal of water contaminants from the advanced treatment of wastewater effluents, especially water reuse applications. My lab also develops and integrates chemical and toxicological methods to evaluate the safety of reused waters to achieve this.

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

I hope that my interdisciplinary interests and experiences will contribute to the diversity of ideas on Environmental Science & Technology’s content. Being an early career researcher myself, I also look forward to promoting and attracting quality work by other early-career peers, such as special issues and editorial articles aimed at early career researchers.

Please can you highlight an article published in Environmental Science & Technology that you found particularly interesting/ innovative?

The human population is exposed to a vast array of chemical and biological contaminants in our environment. While most studies have historically focused on individual contaminants and their potential adverse health effects, it is also important to not lose sight of the whole human exposome’s integrative effects. I believe that the article “Factors Shaping the Human Exposome in the Built Environment: Opportunities for Engineering Control” provides a thought-provoking perspective on the role of engineering towards modifying the built environment that can address and control the human exposome.

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

I believe that building a sustainable research program is quite an endeavor for any early career researcher. A few challenges that we face as Early Career Researchers include securing funding, managing students and staff with compassion, and promoting our research. I hope that my Early Career Board participation can contribute to ideas that will particularly help promote work by Early Career Researchers.

Kyle Bibby, Associate Professor and Wanzek Collegiate Chair, University of Notre Dame

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

Microbiology to improve human health and environmental quality.

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

I hope to support the continued growth and development of Environmental Science & Technology as the breadth of the topics covered and authors who submit continues to grow!

Hang Deng, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest)

I am a broadly trained environmental scholar: my current research interests focus on mechanistic understanding and process-based modeling of (fractured) porous materials and their dynamic evolution triggered by chemical reactions. One example is the alteration of the fluid-solid interface caused by mineral dissolution and precipitation and their impacts on the porous materials or fractures’ transport and hydraulic properties. These processes are highly relevant to many environmental systems, e.g., scaling in membranes or hydraulic fractures, deposition of salt in soils, and CO2 mineralization. The application areas that I am particularly interested in include sustainable subsurface energy recovery, unconventional water resources management, and carbon reduction.

What do you hope to bring to Environmental Science & Technology and the Early Career Board?

The subsurface environment is expected to play an increasing role in providing solutions to many challenges humanity faces. The community of Environmental Science & Technology is well poised to lead it. I’d like to help make that happen. With my national laboratories experiences, I’d like to help build strong connections and collaborations between academia and national laboratories within the Environmental Science & Technology community, which will be undoubtedly beneficial to many, especially early career folks.

Please can you highlight an article published in Environmental Science & Technology that you found particularly interesting/ innovative?

There are so many publications from Environmental Science & Technology that I am excited about and keep going back to in my daily research. One that I wanted to highlight here is Moosdorf et al., 2014, Carbon Dioxide Efficiency of Terrestrial Enhanced Weathering. Enhanced weathering is a promising option within the current Negative Emission Technologies (N.E.T.s) portfolio. It is gaining momentum, but there were relatively few studies in the early 2010s. Seeing a great paper on this topic published early on in Environmental Science & Technology is very encouraging, which shows the journal being very open and embracing emerging ideas and topics. This is also what I would expect from a topic journal, shaping important research directions.

What are the major challenges facing Early Career Researchers?

One major challenge that I’ve thought quite a lot about is establishing ourselves in an increasingly collaborative environment. Collaborations across disciplines and team efforts are needed and expected in addressing the grand challenges that we set out to solve. They are increasingly encouraged by funding agencies as well. However, it could sometimes appear to conflict with the idea of building one’s research program, and it is typically challenging to attribute credit to different participants. Early career researchers may feel especially torn in such situations and not be able to embrace collaborations truly.

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