Making connections beyond the classroom

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Facilitating and promoting interdisciplinary water research and education is a primary role of the Water Institute at the University of Waterloo. On a regular basis, the Water Institute brings an RBC Visiting Fellow to campus to stimulate discussion and the exploration of collaborative research opportunities with Water Institute faculty and students. In January 2017, Collaborative Water Program graduate, Maricor Arlos, took advantage of this opportunity and connected with RBC Visiting Fellow professor Christian Stamm, Group Leader of Water Quality and Management at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag).This led to an opportunity of a lifetime – receiving a Postdoctoral Fellowship at ETH Zurich and funding from the NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowships Program.

Maricor Jane Arlos

“My PhD supervisor, Mark Servos, encouraged me to network with the Water Institute’s RBC Visiting Fellow,” said Arlos. “Through discussions with Christian, I learned about ETH Zurich and Eawag, the quality of research produced at these institutions, their commitment to serve the public’s best interest, and their overall level of expertise. It wasn’t long after our discussions that I knew I wanted to study there.”

During his time at Waterloo, Stamm interacted with students of the Water Institute through formal and informal discussions, such as the WaterTalk he delivered on the impacts of micropollutants in stream ecosystems. It was during these discussions that Arlos decided to pursue her goal of securing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at ETH Zurich.

“The Water Institute provided an incredible opportunity to network and connect with an international water expert,” said Arlos. “Because of this, I am now learning first-hand from water experts and improving my own skills to prepare me for the next stage of my career.”

Maricor Jane Arlos
Supervised by Julianne Hollender, Head of Department of Environmental Chemistry at Eawag, and Stamm, Arlos’ research focuses on the simulation of the transport of representative micropollutants (pesticides, pharmaceuticals, etc.) in select Swiss surface waters and aims to link these predictions to the concentrations found in exposed organisms.

“Hopefully, my research can demonstrate the utility of models in complementing the current measured data as well as assist with the comprehensive exposure assessment of micropollutants in the environment.”

After completing her Master’s degree in Waterloo’s Faculty of Engineering (supervised by Wayne Parker), Arlos continued her education at Waterloo as a PhD student in the Faculty of Science and was part of the first Collaborative Water Program cohort. Arlos’ PhD research was very diverse and covered advanced treatment of micropollutants using nanotechnology as well as the prediction of micropollutant exposure to wild fish in the Grand River. She was also co-supervised by Susan Andrews, a drinking water treatment expert from the University of Toronto.

“Learning how to work in interdisciplinary teams during my time in the Collaborative Water Program will be beneficial in this new position,” said Arlos. “Eawag is an established interdisciplinary water research institute with engineers, biologists, ecotoxicologists, hydrogeologists, chemists, and economists are all situated under one roof, exchanging ideas and working together to move things forward.”

Learn more about Maricor’s research, or follow her on Twitter.