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Undergraduate Student

Maggie Carolan

Majors: Environmental Science + Water: Resources, Policy, and Management

Expected Graduation Date: May 2018

  • Minor: Green Engineering

“Thinking downstream” is my personal philosophy of mind—as an undergraduate studying Environmental Science and Water Resources, Policy, and Management with a minor in Green Engineering at Virginia Tech, I value practicing sustainability as the foundation of my multiple disciplines. 

I currently work as an undergraduate research assistant in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering under Dr. Marc Edwards, Dr. Amy Pruden, and Dr. Peter Vikesland, and explore this way of thinking through my work in the lab and the field. I began this position after completing an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates at Virginia Tech in the summer following my freshman year, researching the effect of flow rates on opportunistic pathogens in premise plumbing. Since then, I have been involved in many projects related to drinking water quality, and help to maintain and oversee full-, pilot-, and bench-scale experiments. 

One major ongoing project I have been involved with is the Flint Water Study, and previously traveled to Flint for field sampling and continue to assist graduate students with many aspects of sampling. I have also led my own individual research on potable rainwater harvesting systems with assistance from the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation’s Sustainable Water Undergraduate Research Fellowship program. 

In addition to pursuing research at Virginia Tech, I spent this past summer at Stanford University studying the uptake of emerging contaminants in native California plants in constructed wetlands for stormwater treatment. I strive to pursue graduate research in environmental engineering and work in academia as an environmental justice-focused public health engineer to consult with policymakers and lawyers about industrial, man-made, and natural disasters and exposure incidents to provide scientific evidence of the impact of these events on human and environmental health. 

Water is life; applying sustainable solutions to allocating clean and safe water so that it may be used for its rightful purpose matters immensely. In the face of an uncertain future caused by Earth’s changing and variable climate, water access and quality must be prioritized in a lasting manner. I aspire to work in the future of water with a mindset of sustainability.

    Headshot of Maggie Carolan

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