The Michigan Engineer News Center

New Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow: Aleksandra Szczuka

Szczuka’s research focuses on pathogen control in water engineering.| Short Read
EnlargePortrait of Aleksandra Szczuka
IMAGE:  Portrait of Aleksandra Szczuka

Aleksandra “Alex” Szczuka will join the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow, starting August 1, 2020. 

The Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (PPFP), established in 2011, seeks to recruit potential new faculty based on the fellows’ outstanding records in research and teaching, with a particular focus on candidates whose work aligns with the university’s goals of diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education. In addition to receiving support for their research, all fellows are assigned a faculty mentor and have access to professional development and academic networking opportunities. 

Szczuka earned her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, where her dissertation centered on sustainably improving potable reuse treatment trains. As part of her research, she worked with the Codiga Resource and Recovery Center (CR2C) and the Re-Inventing the Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt) Engineering Research Center. She received the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) Abel Wolman Graduate Fellowship, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, and the Charles H. Leavell Graduate Fellowship. 

Szczuka’s current research explores biomolecular reactions that take place in microorganisms during disinfection for improved pathogen control. Associate Professor Krista Wigginton will supervise Szczuka’s research and serve as her faculty mentor. 

“Alex’s research is so crucial in the field of water engineering and has the potential to improve quality for so many people and communities. I’m thrilled to serve as her faculty mentor,” said Wigginton. 

Before attending Stanford, Szczuka earned her bachelor’s degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Princeton University, minoring in Computer Science and Finance. Her early research dealt with how mercury accumulates in aquatic environments at a microbial level. It was at Princeton that Szczuka first became passionate about water research, water supply augmentation and organic and pathogenic contaminant removal. 

“We are very excited to welcome Alex to CEE due to her pioneering dissertation work in water treatment technologies for water reuse at Stanford.  The PPFP has brought so many wonderful fellows and faculty to U-M, and we are very excited for Alex to be the department’s very first fellow in this prestigious program,” said Professor and Donald Malloure Department Chair Jerome Lynch. 

Students in mask walking on campus and a researcher climbing a tree in the Amazon rainforest

This article is included in the Fall 2020 issue of the CEE Review magazine. Visit the issue home page to see other articles.

Portrait of Aleksandra Szczuka
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GG Brown 2105E

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