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Lindsay Whalin

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Lindsay M. Whalin, MSc, PG, Engineering Geologist
San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board
Mentee:  1997-2000 (career development, research, lab/field methods, course work)

    It is grit that defines Priya professionally; that extraordinary blend of passion and perseverance that is the recipe for great success in talented people. Even more extraordinarily, she applies it to both her research and her teaching, making her a rare and invaluable resource to both her mentees and mentors.

    In my years of experience working under Priya in Prof. A. Russell Flegal’s Aquatic Toxicology Research Lab, and as a student at UCSC in several classes in which she guest lectured, I found her inspirational. After my first class with her, I literally sought her out to tell her that I wanted to be her when I grew up. This is because Priya instills not only the necessary knowledge and skills in her students and mentees, but also confidence. This is especially important to women and minorities, who are under-represented in the Sciences.  Her mentees are set up for success because they learn the big picture, the details, and how their input is crucial to not only her research, but to scientific knowledge and the protection of the environment. In conversation with Priya or in her presentations and lectures, one is struck by her ability to explain complicated scientific concepts to all audiences, ranging from my artist-husband to other experts in her field. But it is not luck that makes her successful, it is faculty and grit.

    The proof of her skill and passion as teacher and mentor is in the success of her students and mentees. I did follow in her footsteps, receiving a BS in Earth Sciences and a MS in Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Sciences, focusing in Geochemistry.  I now put those degrees to use in pursuit of my passion, protecting the environment, as a regulator at the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board where I oversee the cleanup of toxic sites and am developing our agency’s Mine Cleanup Program. There are a handful of people that I credit for my professional success, and Priya is definitely one of them.