Clarita Lefthand, a Ph.D. student in the School's Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, has been awarded the prestigious Bullitt Environmental Prize for 2008. The Prize is given annually to an outstanding graduate student at a university in the Pacific Northwest.
Ms Lefthand's passions for science, environmental justice, and indigenous American communities are reflected in her work. A member of the Navajo Nation, 1400 miles to the south of Seattle, she feels a strong connection with Seattle's Tulalip tribes, and her community-based master's research work tracked the sources of fecal contamination in Tulalip Bay.
Her PhD research will focus on new ways to easily tell viable pathogens -- the real threats -- from non-viable debris in the environment; the work will help scientists more accurately predict the health risks in aquatic ecosystems.
The prize, established in honor of Priscilla Bullitt Collins, the late chair of the Bullitt Foundation, carries a cash award of $100,000, distributed over two years. The awards ceremony will be on September 9, 2008.