Neila Seda

neilaSSchool of Engineering – Environmental Engineering Advisor: Dr. Timothy Vadas Research Project: Working on sediment biouptake of silver nanoparticles to address toxicity and bioaccumulation in worms Neila Seda loves research—especially research on water quality. She is looking into the way ultrafine particles of silver build up in the soil and the toxic effects of that buildup on worms. This project, she explains, has potential impact on our water supply because nanometal particles can affect the toxicity of water. Neila’s interest in her research subject grew out of undergraduate research she conducted at Iowa State University, where she earned her B.S. degree in civil engineering in May on a full-tuition scholarship. As an undergrad, Neila also conducted laboratory and field research on the environmental impact of different crop systems, as well as on fluid interaction. It was an NSF-sponsored summer internship in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University after her sophomore year that originally got her hooked on research. She worked on making fine scale ceramic structures by freeze casting. “I would not trade this experience for any other,” she says, “because it made clear what I wanted to do after graduating—research.” Today, when she isn’t busy with her research, Neila is active in the marketing committee for the national Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). The native of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, served as both president and secretary of the Iowa State chapter of SHPE/MAES (Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists) and was vice president of the university’s Puerto Rican Student Association. In her free time, Neila also stays in shape by playing racquetball and swimming, and enjoys trying new restaurants. After earning her Ph.D., she plans to work toward making “potable water more abundant and accessible to everyone.” Biography done by Cathleen Torrisi

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