Ya-Hsuan (Judy) Lin traveled on her own to the United States in the summer of 2015 to study biochemistry and public health at Occidental College. With work experience rooted in both scientific and community aspects, she became a physics and math tutor to 30 low-income high school students, and quickly discovered her passion to use science and mathematical knowledge to support communities. Judy has also interned at the Office of Legislator Kuen-Yu Wu in Taiwan where she applied her skills to translate regulation regulatory information to help draft food safety policy by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Chemical Agency.
Both experiences taught her the importance of communication and information in the public health sector, and she hopes to continue to apply that applied knowledge throughout her internship with Council for Watershed Health.
We asked Judy a few questions on her internship with CWH as a Water Quality Monitoring intern.
What is your internship like at CWH?
In the past month interning with CWH, I have enjoyed the balance and variety of work. I have worked in the office environment, helped with field monitoring, and done research in a lab setting. In the office, I have supported the work of the Los Angeles River Watershed Monitoring Program (LARWMP)by applying my unique research interest to the work the program currently does. I suggest new data interpretation and help identify information gaps. In the field, I collect information that helps us understand water quality at popular public swim sites by taking in situ measurements, using different kinds of meters, and collecting water samples that will be analyzed for bacteria.I For the work that is more lab focused, I work on the Sun Valley Project, a project in partnership with Stanford University and UC Berkeley. In the lab, where I help test whether different geomedia could provide a low-cost solution to better stormwater treatment.
In your own opinion, why do you find the work of LARWMP is important?
LARWMP examines several aspects of the Los Angeles River Watershed. It assesses the condition of the watershed to better understand, among other goals, the condition of sites where people swim and the safety of eating fish caught in the watershed. The watershed is divided into natural, effluent, and urban sites in the report, to observe the differences between, and compare the segments of the river surrounded by different land uses. LARWMP is significant because it not only draws the attention of water problems closely pertaining to us, but also assesses the different aspects of watershed health.
What do you consider to be your project and career goals?
After browsing through FDA and ECHA food safety regulations and suggesting improvements for Taiwan food safety regulations to the legislator during last summer's internship, I began to grow more interested in toxicology. At CWH, I have selected an individual research project that is related to toxicology . When I read the LARWMP report to help identify a research question, I found an overall decreasing trend of reproductive toxicity 2012 and 2014, with the exception of natural sites, interesting. As part of my independent research project, I am researching reasons why we saw this counterintuitive decrease in toxicity in urban areas with a simultaneous increase in toxicity in natural areas during this time period.
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