Elizabeth Stanley, 2018, Chemical and Biological Engineering

This project focused on collecting data on lead in the environment in the Trenton area through the analysis of water, soil and paint in homes and gardens. We partnered with Isles, Inc., a nonprofit organization in Trenton, to go on home visits to test the paint, soil, dust and water for lead as a part of Isles’ free Healthy Homes assessments. We collected water samples from the homes for analysis with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry in our laboratory and used a handheld X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer to determine the lead content of the paint, soil and dust in the home. We also visited community gardens run by Isles to test the soil for lead and other elements using the XRF analyzers and we took soil samples back to lab. We generated data plots from the gardens in MATLAB, an experience that greatly improved my ability to code in MATLAB. Beyond providing me with experience in a myriad of laboratory techniques, this interships has given me insight into the publichealth problem posed by lead, which I was relatively unaware of, and it has reaffirmed my desire to incorporate service to my community into my career.

* This internship is connected to the PEI Urban Grand Challenges project, “Urban Tap Water and Human Health.