PhD Candidate, Environmental Engineering
Jennifer L. Fuller is a native of Saginaw County, Michigan where she graduated Salutatorian from Hemlock High School. Self-funded and the first generation in her family to attend college, Jennifer chose to attend an in-state public university, Michigan Technological University, with the aid of public and private scholarship. In her undergraduate career, Jennifer held internships at two Fortune 500 companies gaining valuable real-world experience. She also worked at Michigan Tech as an undergraduate research scholar and summer youth instructor teaching middle school and high school students. Jennifer lived and worked internationally in an isolated, developing region of Panama on her senior design micro-hydro power project. Jennifer received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Michigan Tech and was awarded a highly competitive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This fellowship gave Jennifer the option to attend any university in the United States on full scholarship and she proudly decided to bring the funding back to her home state, enrolling in graduate school at Michigan Technological University.
As an NSF fellow, she is currently advised by Dr. Jennifer Becker in Environmental Engineering. Being externally funded for her graduate studies and with the individual expertise of the faculty in her department, Jennifer is able to have the flexibility to work on a newly rising and challenging aspect of water research at Michigan Tech. She is currently researching treatment processes for pharmaceutical micropollutants, emerging contaminants of concern in our water sources. Human pharmaceutical use is increasing substantially and the excretion of pharmaceuticals enters the water system through wastewater treatment effluents where they are unaffected by conventional treatment methods. Many pharmaceuticals are endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) which are proven to have adverse effects on aquatic organisms such as causing feminization to male fish at extremely low concentrations found in the environment. The goal of Jennifer’s research is to develop a sustainable process that can be implemented in conventional wastewater treatment plants in order to reduce to concentrations of pharmaceuticals to the environment and to human drinking water sources. Jennifer is also involved with the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach where she teaches Water and Engineering classes for local middle school students.