UNLV Engineering doctoral student Erica Marti will head to the annual international Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting this month to learn from the world's greatest minds in medicine, physics and chemistry. Marti, who is studying environmental engineering, is one of only 55 students from the United States selected. Less than 700 graduate and post-graduate students worldwide were chosen.
She will learn from 70 Nobel Laureates, who have received accolades for work in cancer and AIDS research, global health, medicine and more.
"We are so proud of Erica's accomplishments and the prestige she has brought to our college," said Rama Venkat, dean of the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering. "We are thrilled to have one of our students learn from the word's most compelling scholars and scientists."
Marti successfully passed a competitive national and international selection process. About 200 academies of science, universities, foundations and research institutions from more than 50 countries played an active part in choosing the young scholars. Marti's trip is sponsored by Oak Ridge Associate Universities.
In addition to the standard program, Marti was selected to participate in the Master Class: "A 21st Century Career in Research: A discussion about thriving in the face of career uncertainty" with Brian Schmidt. Schmidt is a physicist who won a Nobel Prize in 2011 for the "discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe through observations of distant supernovae," according to Nobelprize.org.
"I keep looking at the list of everyone I want to shake hands with, and I realize how much of an honor this is," Marti said. "I am also excited to meet the women who are Nobel laureates as they are such a huge inspiration to me as a young female scientist."
Since 1951, Nobel Laureates have annually convened in Lindau in southern Germany to have open and informal meetings with students and young researchers from around the world. Laureates and students exchange ideas, discuss projects and build international networks throughout the week. Participants hail from 88 countries, including Japan, Israel, and the United Kingdom, as well as developing countries such as Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. The meeting runs from June 28 to July 3.
Marti studies water and wastewater treatment with an interest in chemicals that are used to disinfect drinking water. Chemicals are often used to kill pathogens in the water, but they can create byproducts that are harmful to humans. Marti researches how to prevent the formation of these harmful byproducts and how to safely remove them to create clean water.
As part of a grant from the National Science Foundation, Marti spent a summer in Australia examining disinfection byproducts. Earlier this spring she received a $25,000 UNLV Presidential Research Scholarship, the most significant award given to UNLV graduate students.
She is currently an intern at the Southern Nevada Water Authority and studies under Jaci Batista, an engineering professor and noted expert in wastewater treatment. Marti, who also has a master's in education, is a former Las Vegas high school chemistry teacher and aspires to become a college professor to continue her research in a university setting.