Environmental engineering doctoral student Arisbeth Ibarra Nieblas has made teaching a core focus of her own educational career. The first person in her family to go to college, Nieblas made a two-hour bus trip during her undergrad years in Mexico to teach math and English to underserved students at a community center. The American Institute of Chemical Engineers recently highlighted Nieblas' work and goals, including her winning an award at the 2020 AIChE Annual Student Conference.
“My graduate research project is funded by Tucson Water and involves creating a continuous online corrosion monitoring station,” she told AIChE. “Water quality is monitored, and the corrosion rate of metal is calculated using an electrochemical method. The project’s final aim is to install corrosion monitoring stations at various locations in Tucson’s water grid to guide the scheduling of maintenance of steel pipes, thus avoiding losing potable water to pipe leakage or bursting.”
She earned an opportunity to pursue her studies through the University’s Sustainable Bioeconomy for Arid Regions program. As an SBAR Fellow, she creates educational content for middle school students, including science experiments and activities that involve complex topics like bioeconomy. She travels to schools and runs STEM activities in partnership with teachers.
Arisbeth remembers having great science instructors who may not have had the tools to teach STEM, but were nonetheless inspiring. She wants to honor all those who tried to inculcate a love of chemistry and engineering by doing the same for the hundreds of middle school students that she teaches annually.
“Kids are so creative, and it is fun to see what their minds create,” she says. “My favorite activity was when I asked the students to invent a plant that could successfully grow in the Sonoran Desert, and the plant could make a bioproduct to solve a problem. The students drew the wildest plants with the most special characteristics. I enjoyed seeing what they came up with.”
Read the full article on the AIChE website.