CSETAC would like to recognize the student presentation winners from our 2017 Annual Meeting in Charleston, South Carolina. Matt Garbarino, currently a Carolina resident, presented his Master's thesis research conducted at Baylor University in Waco, TX. He shares his passion for exposure science and risk management.
I’ve always cared about earth sciences growing up and over time the scope of that passion has focused on water resource quality and management. Attending the University of Miami for my undergraduate education first exposed me to the importance of water resources in urban settings. Here I encountered the impacts of growing populations and management decisions on water quality in a large, metropolitan area, and worked on a project relating to water quality issues and habitat restoration resulting from dredging in the Florida Keys canals. Dredging canals to increase the number of waterfront homes in new developments severely degraded water quality by impeding the flow of water, leaving many static areas where decaying organic matter resulted in foul smelling, low oxygen conditions for aquatic organisms.
I soon connected with Dr. Bryan Brooks of Baylor University and transitioned into researching urban water reuse issues in arid and semi-arid regions and in effluent dominated streams. The majority of humans live in cities, and as the population grows the demand for water also increases. The increased use of chemicals from a growing population coupled with the necessity for water reuse puts stress on aquatic organisms, especially in arid regions where dilution in streams is limited. It was during this time that I became interested in exposure science.
Understanding the magnitude, duration, and frequency of chemical exposure is critical to risk management and environmental decision making. My Master’s research focused on understanding how aquatic exposure for various chemicals from wastewater effluent varied between seasons, days of the week, and within a given day. Going forward, I hope to have the opportunity to continue to grow as a young scientist while diversifying my knowledge base in exposure science and risk management.