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  • Kate Munning

Scholarship Helps Advance Urgent PFAS Research

TLCNJ's scholarship portal is now open, which makes this the perfect time to highlight the achievements of one of our previous scholarship recipients. Sumbel Yaqoob is a 2022 winner who has continued to thrive as a graduate student at NJIT, embarking on important research and founding the university's first DEIJ organization for graduate students.


Sumbel has chosen to study the urgent public health issue of PFAS, the "forever chemicals" that are toxic at extremely low levels and have made their way into our waterways and bodies, posing significant risks to our health. She recently won a prestigious National Science Foundation research fellowship to continue this important work. Sumbel wrote to us about how TLCNJ's scholarship impacted her:


Thank you again for the generous scholarship awarded to me in May 2022 through The Land Conservancy of New Jersey’s scholarship program. I am grateful for your support, which has enabled me to pursue my academic and professional goals.


I am pleased to inform you that I have continued my studies in environmental science, with a specific focus on the biotransformation of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the environment. The scholarship money has allowed me to conduct additional research on this important topic and broaden my knowledge by attending conferences like the AEESP conference in St. Louis, where I had the opportunity to learn from leading experts in my field. I am utilizing the information gained from other PFAS researchers I met at these conferences to explore other possible avenues for research—for example, the potential for 19F-NMR in analyzing PFAS.


Currently, my research is focused on the behavior of per-and polyfluoroalkyl sulfonamides when cultivated with antibiotic resistant bacteria. While there has been a significant learning curve and other difficulties in conducting this work, the scholarship money has allowed me to purchase additional research materials and attend conferences where I can learn more about the latest developments in PFAS research. Through this collaboration with other researchers in my field, my newfound knowledge and understanding of the topic has allowed me to swiftly overcome the hardships. The scholarship has had a direct and positive impact on my ability to conduct high-quality research on PFAS and contribute to the growing body of knowledge on this important topic.


Overall, I cannot express enough how grateful I am for the scholarship and the impact it has had on my studies and career path. It has allowed me to pursue my passion for environmental science with greater focus and has given me the resources to learn more about my field, meet other professionals, and draw upon the science community to bolster my research.


Thank you once again for your support, and I look forward to updating you on my progress in the future!


Are you a college undergraduate or graduate student from New Jersey studying environmental science or a related environmental field? Know someone who is? The Land Conservancy of New Jersey is looking to support future environmental leaders pursuing degrees in environmental science, natural resource management, conservation, park administration, and related fields by awarding six scholarships in 2024. One student will be chosen for each of the six $10,000 scholarships. The selection process is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Entries must be emailed or postmarked by April 1.



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