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  • Leslie Nanninga

SoCal SETAC 2024 Annual Meeting - Training Course details!

We are excited to announce training courses on microplastics pollution at the SoCal SETAC Annual Meeting this April at Lake Arrowhead!

The training workshops are:

  • The microplastics policy and regulation landscape: how to navigate it” (Sunday April 21, 1:30–3:30 PM); Instructors: Dr. Win Cowger, The Moore Institute for Plastic Pollution Research, Dr. Sean Anderson, CSU Channel Islands, and Samiksha Singh, University of California, Riverside);

  • Spectroscopy fundamentals and best practices for analysis and reporting of microplastics data” (Sunday April 21, 4:00–6:00 PM); Instructors: Dr. Win Cowger, The Moore Institute for Plastic Pollution Research, and Dr. Sara Belontz, California State University, San Marcos)

Please see below for instructor bios. Register for the training courses and annual meeting here!

Sean Anderson, Professor, CSU Channel Islands

Sean Anderson is an American conservation biologist, restoration ecologist and professor of Environmental Science and Resource Management (ESRM) at California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI). He was educated at the University of California Santa Barbara, University of California Los Angeles and Stanford University. Anderson embraces education and research alike, managing projects from California to Oceania and the Middle East. His lab, named "PIRatE Lab" (an acronym for the Pacific Institute for Restoration Ecology), conducts a wide range of coastal monitoring, ecological restoration, and conservation efforts.

Anderson's projects are often broad in scope and typically grapple with evolving or novel environmental challenges. Examples of his work include: wetland restoration in Turkey and New Orleans, Cook Islands coral reef monitoring, ecotoxicological and socioeconomic impact of major oil spills such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon and 2015 Refugio spills, and quantification of microplastic pollution across the planet. Anderson co-directs the Aerial and Aquatic Robot Research (AARR) team which has now grown into a large group of multidisciplinary faculty and students working on various coastal efforts from over the horizon monitoring of Marine Protected Areas to long-term oil seep impacts from wildfires.


Dr. Sara Belontz, Postdoctoral Researcher at California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM)

Dr. Sara Belontz is a postdoctoral researcher in the Physics Department at CSUSM. Her research quantifies microplastic and nanoplastic particles in aqueous solutions using nanoIR spectroscopy. Dr. Belontz received her PhD in Geology from the University of Western Ontario investigating the sources, occurrence, and fate of microplastics in freshwater compartments. Her dissertation reported the spatial and temporal distribution of microplastics in sediment of the Great Lakes, North America.


Dr. Win Cowger, Research Director, Moore Institute for Plastic Pollution Research

Dr. Win Cowger is the Research Director at the Moore Institute for Plastic Pollution Research. Win is an internationally sought expert for his data analysis skills and has produced software and methodological standards that are highly utilized and cited by the plastic pollution research community. The Moore Institute is currently working to become the world's first accredited lab for microplastics. His disciplinary background is in Environmental Science where he studies the sources, transport, and fate of plastic pollution in the environment. Win’s primary objective with science is to identify solutions to plastic pollution and assess their effectiveness. 


Samiksha Singh, PhD Candidate, University of California, Riverside

Samiksha is an International Fulbright scholarship holder and a PhD Candidate in Environmental Science at the University of California, Riverside. Concurrently, she is engaged in a Designated Emphasis in Public Policy at the same institution. Her doctoral research centers around the fate and transport of microplastics in freshwater systems and the marine environment, focusing on river systems and the near coastal environment in Southern California. In an effort to have a multidisciplinary approach to complex environmental challenges, Samiksha through her work in public policy, studies the susceptibility of low-income communities and communities of color to microplastic exposure and their potential negative health effects as a results of bottled water consumption patterns.  Prior to embarking on her PhD, Samiksha held the position of senior scientist at the Institute of Natural Resources, a non-profit organization in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.  In this role, she played a pivotal part in diverse aquatic biomonitoring projects and led environmental impact assessments for various development as well as social impact assessments. She also significantly contributed to teams working across Africa dealing with environmental challenges reflecting her dedication to sustainable practices and community well-being. Samiksha's professional trajectory and academic endeavors show her commitment to Advancing environmental Science through a multidisciplinary approach. 

We look forward to seeing you at Lake Arrowhead!


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