Sarah Van Glubt, PhD Student

Fall 2019 Graduate Teaching Associate

Sarah is adaptable and creative, with the soft skills that are crucial when teaching controversial issues to young minds…it excites me to think about the positive impact she has made to young non-science majors who are learning environmental science.

- Jackie Maximillian, nominator

Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in Bellingham, Washington and completed my bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in environmental engineering at Portland State University. 

I’ve always enjoyed learning about environmental systems, how humans interact with these systems, and ways to problem solve issues related to environmental contamination. 

I was excited to work with Dr. Mark Brusseau because I am fascinated by subsurface systems and how contaminants behave in them.

What do you research and why?

I research the fate and transport of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in aquifer systems. PFAS have been used in a variety of settings, such as consumer products, manufacturing, and firefighting foams. While these chemicals have had many benefits, they are unfortunately harmful to human health and are being discovered at many contaminated sites. 

I am working to better understand how PFAS move through the environment so that we can accurately assess the risk they may pose to communities and the environment. 

What did you teach and what do you enjoy the most about it?

I am the Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Environmental Science (ENVS 170A1)

I enjoy working with students who are new to many of the ideas in the course and the seeing them gain a new understanding of the environment. 

Future plans?

I’m open-minded about future plans. However, I am looking forward to applying the ideas I’ve learned in a professional setting plus gaining new knowledge beyond the academic setting.

Words of advice?

Be as thorough as you can with taking notes during your research. You never know when you will need a small detail here or there that you weren’t expecting.