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Adrian Mikhail Garcia

Adrian is a PhD student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Applied Ocean Science & Engineering. He studies the dynamics of estuaries, with a focus on understanding transport mechanisms which affect the length of salinity intrusion. Prior to joining MIT, he studied Civil & Environmental Engineering at University of Pittsburgh. Adrian is the director of this year’s Water Summit, and he would like everyone to know that his favorite fruit is the mango.


Patricia Stathatou

Patricia is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms, after winning the Bodossaki Scholarship for Research. Her research focuses on the development of a novel biotechnological platform for removing heavy metals and drugs from water. She graduated from the School of Civil Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens, Greece (NTUA), in 2011, and she holds a PhD on water reuse and recycling from the School of Chemical Engineering of NTUA (2017). She has valuable research experience from numerous EU-funded research projects mainly focusing on integrated water resources management, water purification and wastewater treatment and reuse. She likes collaborating and building relationships with people of different nationalities and disciplines, while she enjoys communicating science to the general public. Furthermore, she loves water skiing and year-round swimming.


Andrew Bouma

Andrew received his bachelor’s degree in engineering with a mechanical concentration from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and his S.M in mechanical engineering from MIT. He is now working on his PhD at MIT, studying the energy efficiency and thermodynamics of desalination and brine concentration technologies. “I’ve enjoyed working with all the passionate and curious people involved with the Water Club. Thinking about and working on water issues that go far beyond the scope of my research topic has helped me to better understand the bigger picture and context in which I’m working and helped me to make valuable connections outside my own research area.”


Chun Man Chow

Chun Man is a Chemical Engineering PhD student at MIT. He is interested in separation processes, including water purification and remediation, pollution control, and resource recovery. He currently works on graphene membranes in Prof. Karnik’s lab in Mechanical Engineering. Prior to coming to MIT, he studied Chemical Engineering and Environmental Engineering at University of California Berkeley. Chun Man has spent a summer researching microplastics at Ruhrverband, a water organization in Western Germany, making this year’s Water Summit topic very dear to him.

Grace Connors

Grace is an incoming masters student in Mechanical Engineering at MIT, which is also where she completed her undergraduate degree. She is working on optimizing solar powered desalination systems in India, and she is particularly interested in the economics of producing water. “I'm excited for the MIT Water Summit as an opportunity to spread the word about all the research relating to water happening at MIT!”

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Hayley Gadol

Hayley is a Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD student at MIT, where she researches interactions between redox cycling of metals (like iron and manganese) with other nutrient cycles, such carbon and nitrogen. Prior to coming to MIT, Hayley studied Geochemistry at Washington University in St. Louis. “I am interested in the MIT Water Summit because water is such an important resource, and while I study water chemistry, the Water Summit provides an opportunity to interact with others studying water from other fields, like engineering and policy.”

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Jing He

Jing is a PhD student studying Physical Oceanography as part of the MIT-WHOI Joint Program. Her research is on coastal ocean dynamics that impact nutrient transport and marine biological productivity. Prior to starting her PhD, Jing studied Physics at Middlebury College. She has been on three research cruises so far, which have taken her to the North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and the Indian Ocean. When she is not working or playing in the ocean, she can be found hiking and climbing in the mountains.

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Drew Meyers

Drew is a research associate in Civil & Environmental Engineering and the Department of Urban Studies & Planning at MIT. He works on developing new sensors and instruments for environmental monitoring. Prior to joining MIT, he studied Computer Science and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at University of Colorado Boulder. He was drawn to the MIT Water Summit because he is interested in bringing together leaders in both industry and academia to the same table for a discussion on some of the world’s biggest water issues.


Isabella Schalko

Isabella is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT. Her research focuses on the interaction of flow with sediment and wood in rivers. She currently studies how wood placements affect flow and morphology and how they can be used for river restoration. Isabella obtained a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Environmental Engineering at University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Austria; and her PhD in Environmental Engineering at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. “I'm interested in this years MIT Water Summit, because plastic has become such an integral part of our everyday life, yet, we still don't fully understand how it affects us or our environment.”


Hannah Varner

Hannah focuses on combining mechanical design theory and user-centered product design as a graduate student in the MIT Mechanical Engineering Global Engineering and Research Lab. Her research focuses on how home-use water purification systems can desalinate water with higher electrical efficiency and lower water wastage through Electrodialysis. Prior to arriving at MIT, she obtained a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Brown University. Hannah came to MIT with a satellite in space ( and enjoys climbing in her time outside of lab.


Dayang (Cindy) Wang

Cindy is a postdoc in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at MIT. She analyzes the flow and transport of multiphase plumes that result from a dispersed phase (e.g., droplets or particles) discharged continuously into a stratified ambient. Results of her work are relevant to a wide range of natural and man-made applications, including the transport of oil droplets created accidentally during a deep-sea oil spill and sediment released purposefully during deep-sea mining operations. Prior to MIT, she studied Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Western Australia. The issue of plastic in the ocean is of personal interest to Cindy.


Ruija (Rose) Wang

Rose has a bachelor’s degree in Public Health Sciences from University of Massachusetts Amherst and is currently working towards her Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Tufts University. She is interested in exploring planetary health in the context of biodiversity, ecological understanding, and climate change in aquatic and coastal ecosystems. She finds inspiration in the navigator Nainoa Thompson, who once said “the whole thing about sustainability was following the water,“ and Rose is excited to help us navigate the MIT Water Summit this year!


Boya Xiong

Boya is a postdoc in MIT’s Civil and Environmental Engineering department. She studies chemical and mechanical mechanisms of synthetic plastic degradation in the natural environment, as well as tools and innovations to realize circular economy of materials. Boya obtained her undergraduate degree in Biotechnology at East China University of Science and Technology, and she is excited to be a part of the MIT Water Summit this year because it is very related to her current research!


Cathy Zhang

Cathy is a PhD student at Harvard SEAS studying Applied Physics. Her research is focused on probing the interfaces between microscopic particles (like microbeads, algae, and bacteria) and materials with stimuli-responsive, shape-changing properties. This work could eventually lead to the design of smarter self-cleaning coatings and sensor materials. Cathy obtained her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from MIT, and she is excited about this year’s Water Summit because so little is known about microplastic pollution, and she looks forward to engaging in multidisciplinary conversations on the advances and challenges in this growing field. In addition, Cathy loves biking, atomic force microscopy, and goldfish (the snack).