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SBU Alum’s Fulbright Scholarship Will Take Her to Israel

Friedlander headshot
Alumna Lonia Friedlander will travel to the West Bank to do environmental studies.
Alumna Lonia Friedlander credits SBU’s Geosciences Department for helping her get a Fulbright Fellowship.

Stony Brook University alumna Lonia Friedlander, who received her PhD in Geosciences in December 2014, has been chosen for a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship, which will begin in April 2016. The fellowship will take her to Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, where she will work with Israeli and Palestinian partners to understand and mitigate environmental contamination in the West Bank arising from the informal electronic waste processing industry there. She will be using remote sensing and field spectroscopic methods to evaluate environmental geochemistry in the region as well as the extent and spread of contaminants released by informal e-waste processing.

During her time at Stony Brook University, Lonia worked on two research projects. The first focused on the spectroscopy of impact altered clay minerals on Mars, and became the subject of her dissertation. The second was an investigation into the antibacterial properties of reactive minerals.

Friedlander fieldwork copy
Lonia taking a field spectrum of the ashy center of one of the informal e-waste processing pits, or burn sites, in the West Bank during a short field season in March 2015.

“The openness and flexibility of the Geosciences Department at Stony Brook University really allowed me to try out many different scientific directions,” said Lonia. “Without the supportive environment that I experienced there, I would not have been able to go for the Fulbright, and I think my varied laboratory and research experiences have given me a very solid preparation to be able to handle whatever happens in the coming year. I have also benefited immensely from the guidance of two great mentors — Tim Glotch, my thesis advisor, and Martin Schoonen, the primary investigator of my reactive minerals project. Both of them supported and encouraged me to explore, while also making sure that I stayed on task. My time at Stony Brook very much shaped me as a researcher and I hope to carry the collaborative, open attitude of the Geosciences Department forward to wherever I go next.”

“Lonia was a great student with a diverse set of skills and a natural scientific curiosity,” said Associate Professor of Geosciences Timothy Glotch. “She will be a credit to the Fulbright program.”

“Lonia was an exceptional student determined to work on problems related to the human wellbeing,” said Professor of Geochemistry Martin Schoonen. “She took advantage of Stony Brook’s collaborative spirit and tested the antibacterial properties of several minerals in Wali Karzai’s lab in the Center for Infectious Diseases. Her proposed work on the electronic waste in dry arid environments addresses a growing problem in the Middle East.”

Lonia has spent the past year working as a senior geophysicist for e4sciences|Earthworks, LLC in Connecticut, which produces scientific services for sustainable engineering and indigenous energy.

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