Moala Keshei Bannavti

Moala Keshei Bannavti, Ph.D. student, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Measures air toxins in schools

Hometown: North Plainfield, NJ
Faculty mentor/advisor: Keri Hornbuckle, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. And Craig Just, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. (I am co-advised)
What is your degree program and expected graduate date? PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering; August 2022
Please describe your research: My research focuses on testing the feasibility of targeted materials remediation as an alternative option of removing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from school air. I measure the airborne PCBs in individual schoolrooms and use robust statistics to examine the variability in concentration and congener distribution.
In simple terms, why does this research matter? This research matters because current methods of PCB remediation are very expensive. It is our hope that by developing a method to better prioritize materials for removal, we will save school districts money. This is especially helpful for schools in resource-constraint, minority-predominant communities.
How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I began participating in lab research after my first semester here, early January 2019.
How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? My research involvement is the impact I am most proud of throughout my time at Iowa thus far. I recently won the University’s 3 Minute Thesis competition which is still such an honor. My participation in research made that experience possible for me.
What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? After graduation I plan to be a professor at an R1 University, like Iowa.

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