Two Environmental Scientists Join the SS&E Faculty
The Environmental Science program welcomes two new environmental scientists, Dr. Megan Ferguson and Dr. John Rayburn, who are co-teaching the Introduction to Environmental Science and Engineering class this semester.
Dr. Ferguson is particularly intrigued by chemical reactions of environmental relevance in the aqueous phase and at water-solid interfaces. This work involves aspects of aquatic chemistry, photochemistry, surface chemistry, and bioremediation. One of her current projects involves analysis of biosurfactants produced by bacteria that degrade major components of crude oil and other fossil fuels, many of which are harmful to humans and ecosystems. These biosurfactants modify the surface of the bacteria, allowing them greater access to these polutants. Another project considers whether this contamination of surface water and sediments from highway and parking lot runoff could be diminished by TiO2 photo-oxidation.
Dr. Rayburn’s general research centers on the study of the changes that have taken place on the Earth's surface during the Quaternary Period (the last ~2 million years). His work examines the changes in the landscape, and sedimentary records from ponds, lakes, and oceans. More specifically, through a combination of geophysical, geochemical, and paleontological methods he has been exploring the deglacial and post-glacial geological and ecological history of the region over the last 20,000 years. Of particular interest is the potential cause and effect of the "Younger Dryas", a millennium of cold glacial conditions that began very abruptly about 13,000 years ago.
Dr. Ferguson and Dr. Rayburn are working with students in a small discussion section of the Introduction to Environmental Science and Engineering class. Seated from left to right are Kristine Garbarino, Jason Simmons, Sal Ligotino and David Jakim.