I’m currently advising two Master students in environmental engineering and I supervise 5 undergraduate students through the Solar Energy, Water, Environment Nexus grant. I work with my students to make sure they are taking the correct courses and introduce them to professional development opportunities. As a postdoctoral researcher, I mentored an international graduate student for summer research. I started mentoring even as a graduate student; I mentored two undergraduate students who helped with my thesis research and one high school student who I advised during a summer internship. My goals are to help the student develop and understand their research interests, advise the student in their desired career path, and lead the student to appropriate professional development resources.
Dr. Erica Marti’s main research interests are in water and wastewater treatment, especially in the area of transforming wastewater for a beneficial reuse (drinking water, irrigation water, etc.). Past work has included understanding the formation of unregulated disinfection byproducts (DBPs) and investigating different methods to prevent their formation. DBPs are created when water is disinfected with chemical oxidants like different forms of chlorine and ozone. We use the chemicals to inactivate pathogens (bacteria, viruses, etc.) but the chemicals can react with other dissolved organics and inorganics to create unwanted byproducts, some of which are toxic. Therefore, water treatment professionals must work carefully to provide the right amount of oxidant for disinfection while minimizing DBPs.
Future research topics include remediation of polluted groundwater, adsorption of heavy metals from wastewater using biochar made from agricultural waste products, uptake of DBPs in plants grown using treated wastewater, and optimizing toxicity assays for DBPs.
Dr. Marti also conducts research in the area of STEM education and has led several Teacher Professional Development programs for integrated STEM lessons and engineering design.