Upcoming virtual seminar Sept 25: Bridging the gap between science and management by Dr Vivian Nguyen

This is the first installment of a collaborative, student-led seminar series hosted by T-RUST (Transformative Research in Urban Sustainability Training) at WSU and GLIER (Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research) at the University of Windsor. The seminar series is titled Transformative Change in Environmental Sustainability and occurs biweekly on Fridays at 10am.

Title: Bridging the gap between science and management: A decade of research, experience and reflection

Speaker: Dr. Vivian Nguyen, Carleton University

When: Friday, September 25, 10am

Where: Virtually on Zoom, register here: http://bit.ly/WindsortoWayne. The Zoom link will be sent to the email used for registration two days before the seminar.

Science has always been portrayed as molecules, beakers, lab coats and math symbols. We often don’t think about how people actually interact with scientific information, and where the ‘science’ goes after it’s done in the lab or field. Today, most research is funded by public money, so it is fair to expect that the work will eventually benefit society and people. Sadly, this is not always the case, and the reasons why are not always clear. This mystery is often called the ‘science-action’ or ‘knowledge-action’ gap. We know the traditional way of communicating science through peer-review and hoping it is picked up and used is not working. But, why is that? what has worked? how can researchers maximize the benefits of their work to relevant users? Dr. Nguyen will discuss some of these questions in the context of how new knowledge generated by fish telemetry technology (i.e. remote tracking of fish) has or has not informed fisheries management. Lessons learned will be discussed based on almost a decade of research, experience, observations and reflections.

Vivian Nguyen is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Environmental and Interdisciplinary Science and the Department of Biology at Carleton University. Her research focuses on the interface of science, society and policy within the themes of environmental change, natural resource management, and food insecurity. Dr. Nguyen also has expertise in the human dimensions of environmental issues and mobilizing ecological knowledge into decisions, policy, and practice. Learn more about Dr. Nguyen’s research here: https://viviannguyen18.wixsite.com/serac

T-RUST is going virtual!

Announcing our new seminar series in partnership with the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER) at the University of Windsor!

For the first time ever, two sister graduate programs – GLIER (University of Windsor) & Transformative Research in Urban Sustainability Training (T-RUST, Wayne State University) – are partnering to deliver a virtual seminar series entitled: Transformative Change in Environmental Sustainability. Seminars will be every 2 weeks starting on September 25th!

The seminar series will be co-run between the graduate student groups at the University of Windsor (GLIER, School of Environment) and Wayne State University T-RUST and will be focused on connecting our virtual graduate student and early-career research communities. Invited speakers reflect a shared commitment to amplifying diverse Black, Indigenous and People of Colour voices and perspectives, and to broaden perspectives through a range of traditional seminars, break out groups for graduate students, special topic panels and global examples of impactful science, practice and policy.


We are excited to announce our first five speakers:

Dr. Vivian Nguyen, Carleton University 

Dr. Rahul Mitra, Wayne State University

Dr. Janani Sivarajah, Brock University 

Dr. Helen Jarvie, University of Waterloo

Dr. Erin Dunlop, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry


All are welcome! Please register to attend our first seminar here: http://bit.ly/WindsortoWayne

Nigerian engineering student works in Detroit to improve green infrastructure and environmental sustainability

Kate Ekhator, a 2nd year T-RUST PhD student in Civil Engineering, was featured in the WSU Office of International Programs newsletter this month.

Hailing from Nigeria, Kate brings a wealth of knowledge to our program having worked in the oil and gas industry and bringing expertise in water management. Her interdisciplinary project with T-RUST focuses on characterizing stormwater contamination throughout Detroit, and she is working with an anthropologist and communication student to understand risk and mitigation strategies.

Check out the feature story here!

Students awarded grants from Ford C3, Sharon Ram fund, & more

We are proud of our students who are taking the initiative to find outside funding to support their interdisciplinary research and have meaningful community impact. See below for some of the recent awards our students have received. Congratulations!!


Trainees Adam Pruett and Natalie Lyon received $25k from the Ford C3 (College Community Challenge) to support their work with the Detroit Biodiversity Network. They plan to engage students in green stormwater infrastructure projects on campus in collaboration with Detroit Future City. Check out the video below –


Trainees Darrin Hunt, Slava Pallas, and Natalie Lyon received $2.5k from the Sharon L. Ram Aquatic Sciences Fund to purchase equipment for their field research on invasive species in urban parks.


Trainee Brittanie Dabney was awarded a grant from the Ford Community Corps to continue her work with Chandler Park Conservancy on designing and developing solutions for stormwater management in the park.


In collaboration with the Detroit Biodiversity Network, trainee Jonathan Weyhrauch was awarded a grant form the Million Trees Project for his non-profit organization, ReRoot Pontiac, to plant 50 burr oak trees in their outdoor gallery and community space.


We look forward to more community partnerships this year!

A quick look at what our students have been up to!

  • Camille, Colleen, and Brendan chaired a session at IAGLR this week on urban groundwater through the lens of urban sustainability and interdisciplinary research. More…
  • Students from Cesar Chavez Academy High School visited the T-RUST labs for a hands-on workshop, learning about microplastics, aquatic ecology, and cool science equipment! More…
  • Zoha Siddiqua gave a talk at Healthy Urban Waters on her project investigating contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in water. More…
  • T-RUST students Brendan O’Leary, Natalie Lyon, and Camille Akemann presented at the Heathy Urban Waters Symposium, supported in part by the Erb Family Foundation. More…
  • T-RUST fellow, Hector, and past fellow, Orlando, presented research at the Association for the Sciences of Limnography and Oceanography conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico! More…

Spring advisory board meeting in the books!

We marked the end of the semester with our biannual T-RUST Advisory Board meeting. Dr. Steffi Hartwell, Dean of WSU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, opened the meeting and highlighted T-RUST’s interdisciplinary work & community engagement as emblematic of the current goals of CLAS. Students presented their research projects and received valuable community input. Many advisory board members also signed up to be on student advisory groups to provide regular guidance on student projects. There were over 40 attendees at the meeting, including new collaborators from Detroit Future City and Chandler Park Conservancy, as well as representatives from WSU’s Master of Public Health Program.

Thank you to everyone who came out! We appreciate the feedback provided by the advisory board members and look forward to furthering our community collaborations!

Successful microplastics advisory board meeting!

The WSU microplastics team kicked off their first advisory board meeting last week, engaging with community members and stakeholders to foster a greater understanding of microplastics issues in the Great Lakes. The project is led by several T-RUST faculty members, including Yongli Zhang, Carol Miller, and Donna Kashian. Many T-RUST students are also involved in engaging the community around the issues of microplastics in our waters. The meeting involved breakout workshops to identify key issues and solicit feedback on project progression.