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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
April 27, 2015
Canadian Excellence


Holly Gray (graduated MSc 2012, currently PhD)

In October 2009, I graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with an Honours B.Sc. in Biology and Chemistry. My undergraduate thesis introduced me to the world of environmental chemistry at the computational level; the project was entitled “Optimizing Geometries and Infrared Frequencies of Methylated Organoarsenicals on Iron Oxide Cluster Models using Quantum Chemical Calculations.

My interest in environmental and water chemistry led me to continue my education at Wilfrid Laurier University under the supervision of Dr. Scott Smith. I found my love of lab work while researching phosphorus speciation, dissolved organic matter and surface characterization of wastewater and implications for phosphorus removal across a range of treatment technologies. In 2012, I completed my M.Sc. degree in Chemistry. My research project, “Laboratory Methods for the Advancement in Wastewater Treatment Modelling”, was funded by NSERC and EnviroSim Associated Ltd.

After graduation, my research interests grew to include the field of aquaculture. While working with Dr. Scott Smith and the International Copper Association, I was able to take an active role in the assessment of the potential for ecological risk from the introduction of copper alloy nets to a site in British Columbia. This project involved extensive field sampling and helped to further develop my knowledge of field sampling logistics. The results of this study have implications for the potential utility of brass nets in British Columbia. A link to a summary of the results of the study can be found below.

As of January 2013, I am working towards a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of Waterloo (co-supervied by Dr. Smith (Laurier) and Dr. Wayne Parker (Waterloo)). The aim of the project is to treat tertiary wastewater treatment effluents to remove nitrogen and phosphorus through adsorption. Subsequently, the nitrogen and phosphorus will be desorbed to create a feedstock for nutrient recycling processes. Both commercially available and newly synthesized sorbents will be utilized.

Holly is the current editor of the Nutrient Removal and Recovery Group newsletter.