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Nayantara Joseph

Environmental Engineering
Nayantara Joseph

Hometown: Chennai, India

Current School Year: Pre-Junior

Anticipated year of Graduation: 2019

Major: Environmental Engineering

Minor:  Philosophy

Please describe your study/research interests and why.
I decided to major in Environmental Engineering with the purpose of going back to my home country, India, to help with the water and sanitation conditions.  Whilst the country has made rapid economic progress, sanitation in the country is dismal, with more than 65% of the country's population without access to household sanitation.  There is also considerable variation in sanitation access between urban and rural areas and also between states.  Compounding the problem of low sanitation access is also the concern of usage of toilets by all in the household.  I would like to examine the linkages of sanitation and impacts on health, malnutrition, and cognitive and behavioral development of children.  

Over the course of my education at Drexel, I aim to learn more about waste water treatment and risk analysis in order to better equip myself with dealing with water problems back home.  

Please describe your co-op experience. Include where you worked, a brief description of your duties, and what you learned.
My first co-op was with the Philadelphia Water Department where I worked as the engineering co-op at the Belmont Water Treatment Plant.  My work was very hands-on and I got to learn the functioning of a water treatment plant firsthand by performing lab analysis on samples drawn from various steps in water treatment process.  I also prepared and studied turbidity profiles and conducted water basin detention time studies and sludge reduction strategies using alternate coagulants, all of which had to be compiled into daily reports for further analysis.  Working at Belmont helped to give me a starting point for working toward my future goal of working in water treatment.  

I realized that I enjoy research and lab work and that helped me determine what I wanted to do for my next co-op.  I will be doing my second co-op internationally at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in Sri Lanka, working on research dealing with resource reuse and water management.

Please describe any extracurricular activities that you participate in.
I am part of the board of the Drexel Chapter of AIESEC, a global student run organization.  I am also a part of the National Civil Engineering Honor Society, Chi Epsilon (XE), and Engineers without Borders (EWB).

Additionally, I was part of the STAR Scholars Program that enabled me to work on my own independent research project with the guidance of a faculty member.  I worked with Dr. Charles Haas and PhD student, Bidya Prasad of the Environmental Engineering Department who helped me quantify microbial presence in the Ganga River in India and conduct health risk analysis for the users of the river.  

Explain what you would like to do after graduation.

My first three years at Drexel have shown me that I do enjoy research and that is something I fully intend to continue over the course of my education here.  After Drexel, I intend to go to graduate school after which I would like to find a career in sanitation and water treatment.