Jade Johnson a former MARC scholar is featured in this week’s SDSU NewsCenter. Read more about her current research here: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………

When you walk into Eunha Hoh’s lab housed deep inside Hardy Memorial Tower, it’s a hub of thriving research activity. An environmental scientist within the School of Public Health, Hoh supervises undergraduate and graduate students who analyze air and water quality and their impact on humans, animals, and birds. Many of her students come from pure science backgrounds and in her lab have found a pathway to apply their theoretical learning in practical ways that help mankind.  Jade Johnson is a first-year graduate student in environmental health science studying the removal of contaminants for wastewater recycling. She began doing research in Hoh’s lab as a chemistry undergrad. 

Jade Johnson (left) and male student (right) working in a lab

Hoh is one of many professors at San Diego State University who encourage undergraduates to pursue research and offer lab research opportunities.  “I like training undergrads because I want to make sure they understand their degrees are very valuable and to show them the career paths that are possible,” Hoh said. “They’re often not aware of how to apply their learning to public health and the tangible problems in society.” She recalled how as a chemistry undergrad herself, she did not know about all the potential pathways. “That’s why I want our students to be highly motivated for the basic improvement of society, instead of wondering ‘What am I doing here?’ When I found this path, I was super motivated.” When she is looking for students to join her lab, she calls the undergraduate advisors for biology, chemistry and environmental science. Grad students mentor undergrads, training them on instrumentation and lab processes, and second-years mentor first-years, creating a collaborative work environment.  Here is a closer look at one of her current projects. Cross-disciplinary research Jade Johnson splits her time between two labs on campus.  

She collects wastewater samples and operates a lab-sized treatment system at associate professor Natalie Mladenov’s Water Innovation and Reuse Lab in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering. There, Johnson studies the efficiency of decentralized wastewater treatment technology in removing contaminants. Johnson then brings the wastewater samples to Hoh’s lab where she uses state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation, such as two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, to analyze for trace organics and find contaminants of concern. The two professors collaborate on a joint National Science Foundation funded project.   Johnson grew up on a Navajo reservation in Arizona near Grand Canyon National Park, and is the first in her family to graduate with a STEM degree and attend graduate school. As an SDSU undergrad, she found out about the MARC (Maximizing Access to Research Careers) fellowship for underrepresented students and the Summer Undergraduate Research Program funding.  She applied to both, and through her mentor at the Native American Research Center for Health (NARCH), sought a referral to Hoh and has worked with for the past three summers. “Research opportunities differ from lab to lab. In professor Mladenov’s lab, we work independently and figure things out on our own,” Johnson said. “Professor Hoh is a pioneer in her field and I like how interdisciplinary the work done here is, and how it connects so many fields and informs public policy.”  


Students interested in undergraduate and graduate research opportunities at SDSU can visit research.sdsu.edu to learn more. 

Original Article HERE by Padma Nagappan