Published: Oct. 24, 2019

PhD candidate Lauren Magliozzi was recently awarded the Aiken Endowed Memorial Graduate Research Fellowship from CU Boulder’s Center for Water, Earth Science and Technology

Magliozzi is a first-generation college student who grew up on a small farm in Massachusetts. She studied chemistry and geology at Smith College, but decided to switch to environmental engineering for her PhD because she wanted to apply her research to help solve environmental problems. 

Magliozzi is pursuing her PhD as a partnership between CU Boulder and the U.S. Geological Survey, with Professor Joseph Ryan at CU Boulder and chemist Brett Poulin at the USGS. She is studying dissolved organic matter-mercury redox chemistry with electrochemistry. 

This summer, Magliozzi will take two trips to several Arctic national parks in Alaska (Bering Land Bridge, Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Gates of the Arctic, Kobuk Valley and Noatak) as part of a partnership between the National Park Service and the USGS to study the impact of permafrost thaw on hydrological regimes in arctic ecosystems with Poulin and other USGS and National Park Service scientists.

The Aiken Fellowship was established to honor George R. Aiken for his significant contributions to understanding aquatic ecosystems during his 40-year career as an organic geochemist with the USGS. 

Magliozzi’s research is a direct continuation of Aiken's dissolved organic matter and mercury research. Mercury is a globally mobile neurotoxin, and its fate in the environment greatly affects ecosystem and human health. Permafrost contains high levels of mercury.

“The Aiken Endowed Memorial Graduate Research Fellowship will allow me the opportunity to join an exciting USGS and National Park Service field partnership where I can apply the methods I have been developing in the lab to study mercury redox chemistry in Arctic ecosystems, where permafrost is melting at an unprecedented rate and releasing mercury into the environment,” Magliozzi said. 

The Aiken fellowship aims to support collaborative research for advancements in water and earth science that contribute to the wise and sustainable management of Earth’s natural resources within the context of current environmental challenges.