Martee Shafer is dedicated to environmental concerns pertaining to pollution, waste disposal, and bioremediation. She is pursuing a double major in geology and environmental science. She enjoys rock climbing, gymnastics, and long bike rides with her family.
She grew up in Deer Park, WA. In high school, she was a part of the year-book staff, achieved honor roll every quarter, and volunteered at the Spokane Humane Society every summer. At age 19, she enrolled at Interface College Spokane and graduated as a certified Medical Office Assistant and Insurance and Coding Specialist with perfect attendance. After one year of employment, she began classes at Spokane Community College and graduated with her Associate of Arts degree with honor cords.
She is the first person in her family to pursue a bachelor’s degree. She attributes her success to strict study habits and the ability to balance college work and family time effectively. She will obtain her PhD in the field of earth sciences to provide a more prosperous future for her two children, as well as to conduct research on environmental topics that will lessen the impact of the growing population on natural ecosystems.
Dr. Carmen Nezat, Associate Professor, Department of Geology, EWU
2012 TRiO McNair Research Internship- The Effects of Fertilizer and Calcium Carbonate on the Mobilization of Arsenic in Groundwater
Arsenic's ability to become leached into groundwater has placed millions of people all over the world at risk for developing life-threatening diseases. Locally, within Spokane County, isolated private wells have shown arsenic levels above EPA drinking water standards of 10 ppb. Exposure to arsenic in drinking water causes many diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and keratoses. The arsenic in groundwater is commonly leached from natural sources in rock formations but may be enhanced by the addition of fertilizer and calcium carbonate to large crop fields. To determine if they are contributing to the contaminated groundwater, basalt, granite, and clastic sedimentary rock samples were leached with ultrapure water, a fertilizer solution or calcium carbonate solution for one week. There were no significant differences among the treatments. Of the rock and mineral samples, pyrite released the most amount of arsenic when treated with ultrapure water. If pyrite (FeS2) is present in rocks or soil of the Spokane region, it may be a source of arsenic in groundwater. Another possible source in these rock samples is that arsenic was adsorbed to secondary weathering minerals, such as iron hydrous oxide; which are present in local sedimentary rocks.
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