Environmental engineering researcher named Presidential Fellow

Posted: December 27, 2019

Juliana (July) Laszakovits, a third year PhD student in environmental engineering, was named a Presidential Fellow for 2019-2020 at The Ohio State University. She was one of 18 university students to be awarded this disctinction, the most prestigious award given by the Graduate School. Ms. Laszakovits, who is advised by CEGE Professor and Chair Allison MacKay, joins four peers in the College of Engineering, who will utlilize the financial support related to the award to complete the final phases of their dissertation research or terminal degree project.


A native of Falls Church, VA, Laszakovits studies how naturally occurring compounds are altered by different drinking water treatment processes. These compounds react with disinfectants at the end of treatment to form cancer-causing compounds, called disinfection byproducts. Her research aims to reduce the public's exposure to these cancer-causing compounds. "Currently, we don't know what the disinfectants react with to form cancer-causing compounds," she stated. "Ultimately, what we learn can help drinking water treatment plant operators make decisions that minimize the formation of disinfectant byproducts."

Juliana Laszakovits (second from L) with fellow COE Presidential Fellows (L to R) Shahadat Sohel, Molly Baumann, Wen Cai and Nikhita Vedula.
Ms. Laszakovits appreciates Ohio State's acknowledgement of her academic efforts. "It feels validating to have my research received positively. I'm excited to have the support to dedicate my time to a project that I'm passionate about," she said. July expects to complete her studies in early 2021 and looked back fondly at her Buckeye research experiences. "Coming to Ohio State from a small liberal arts university (University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA) was a really big transition," she recalled. "Being part of CEGE, specifically the environmental engineering labs, has allowed me to learn a lot about other research areas. It's humbling to be part of such a diverse group."


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