Tia Jenkins is an undergraduate Research Data Assistant within the Ecohydrology Group at the University of Waterloo. The lab is run by Dr. Philippe Van Cappellen who is the Principal Investigator on the Microplastics Fingerprinting project.
The Microplastics Fingerprinting project team consists of over 25 faculty members, masters and PhD students, and support staff from various disciplinary backgrounds. We recognize this diversity as a strength that enables an interdisciplinary and holistic evaluation of the challenges and solutions associated with microplastics. Each issue of our newsletter will feature one of the project’s excellent researchers.
Tia’s work with the project has primarily focused on developing a comprehensive framework to support the reporting of environmental microplastics research data (Details here). Prior to her efforts, data templates to standardize environmental microplastics data reporting were not publicly available. The template that Tia worked on will help standardize environmental microplastics research data and, therefore, advance the sharing and reusability of datasets collected in different environments across the world. Tia’s work is done in collaboration with data contributors, users, partner programs, and the public, in order to broaden understanding of the requirements and importance of effective Data Management practices. In addition to working as a Data Assistant, Tia also helps in the lab by filtering samples and counting microplastics in them.
Tia is currently completing an undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of Waterloo. She has worked with the research group for three consecutive terms, engaging with microplastics researchers from Europe, Asia, and North America to answer the question, “where are the microplastics data?” in support of advancing FAIR data principles. Through this experience, Tia felt motivated to find a way to use your unique skills and expertise to address the very real threat of microplastics to global environmental and human health.