Ph.D. Student Spotlight: Casey Ching

Casey Ching weighing a material on a small scale.

Casey Ching is a Ph.D. student working in the Helbling Research Group.

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

What is your area of research and why is it important?
My research group uses environmental forensics to discover anthropogenic chemicals found in water and then use novel treatment technologies to improve our treatment of drinking water. My research work involves gaining a better understanding of how novel adsorbents, developed by our collaborators, remove PFAS ("forever" chemicals) from impacted groundwater.

Casey Ching near Machu PicchuWhat inspired you to choose this field of study?
A. During my undergrad, I heard a talk by guest speaker Dr. Nancy Love (University of Michigan) who spoke about how anthropogenic chemicals from urban centers can stress clean water resources. This complex problem between needs of society and human/environmental health motivates me to be part of the solution.  

What are your hobbies or interests outside of your research?
On campus, I am active in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Graduate Student Association (CEE GSA) and Society of Asian American Graduate Affairs (SAAGA). In my additional free time I tend to my plants, play cello, work on video projects (much of which is travel footage), and explore ways to be a environmentally-conscientious and thrifty graduate student (Ithaca has a great reuse scene).   

Why did you choose Cornell?
In addition to Damian's research interests aligning with my interests, I chose Cornell due to its proximity to my family (east coast) and its numerous resources. 

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I've hiked Machu Picchu Mountain, which is one of the two hikes you can do at Machu Picchu. The hike is very steep!

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