Photo Credit: Joe Lamberti for the Courier-Post
Selam! My name is Timnit Kefela Araya (ትምኒት ከፈላ) and I am the Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the School for Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University. My doctoral research at UC Santa Barbara focused on understanding the sources, pathways and fates of microplastics in urban soils and proximal marine environments and infrastructural interventions that mitigate their impact.
Studying microplastics within the urban environment is motivated by living in them most of my life and my continuous passion for making physical environments for communities of color healthy regardless of their proximity to the "natural" environment.
My research journey began as a botanist where I studied plant gene function and the role of plant-microbial interactions on enhancing plant growth, promoting defense against plant diseases and abiotic stress tolerance at Rutgers University-Camden. I also worked on several projects focused on pollution such as phytoremediation of lead-contaminated soils and nutritionally dense food access in Camden, NJ.
I firmly believe that the environmental future should include everyone. Therefore, I am committed to connecting people to science, the sustainable diversification of STEM, and environmental justice education and advocacy. As a result, I work with organizations that share similar goals at both the local and national level.
Email: tkefela at asu dot edu