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ESR14: Jillian Helser

Jillian Helser is a PhD student at KU Leuven, originally from Austin, Texas, in the USA. As ESR 14, her research is focused on the environmental and health impacts of hazardous metals from tailing to product. Jillian has a BSc. degree in Environmental Science and Policy from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. During her bachelor’s degree, Jillian studied abroad in Sydney, Australia for a semester and interned at RecycleSmart, a start-up recycling incentives company based in Sydney. Following her studies, she gained experience in life cycle assessment, green building and design at the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems in Austin, Texas. Then, in 2017, she received an Erasmus Mundus International MSc. Degree in Environmental Technology and Engineering (IMETE), a program which took place at 3 different universities in Europe: UNESCO- IHE (The Netherlands), University of Chemistry and Technology (VSCHT) (Czech Republic), and Ghent University (Belgium). During her master’s program she also interned at the International Water Association (The Hague, Netherlands), working on a water quality impacts report on diffuse pollution in relation to land use. Concluding her degree, she completed a master’s thesis on monitoring, data analysis and modelling of gas-liquid mass transfer in wastewater treatment. Just following her master’s studies, in 2018, she interned at the United Nations (Geneva, Switzerland), aiding in the Commission on Science and Technology for Development. Following her different academic and professional experiences, Jillian has decided to pursue a PhD to continue following her interest in scientific research, gaining knowledge and making new discoveries.

Blog posts:

My experience as a PhD researcher at Goldschmidt conference 2019 in Barcelona

Goldschmidt is an annual international conference on geochemistry and this year it took place from August 18-23. During this week I presented my research, attended numerous insightful talks and workshops, and met new and interesting people working on similar (as well as completely different) topics.

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Acid Mine Drainage: Let that mine flood

Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) is the outflow of acidic water from mine waste usually containing toxic heavy metals and metalloids. This occurs through the process of sulfidic ores being exposed to the atmosphere or water, causing the sulfides to oxidize into sulfuric acid.

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