Local student discovers engineering

Story Slide

Raised in West Kelowna, civil engineering masters student Monica Cella did not have to look far when considering post-secondary options.

“Why would I go anywhere else when there is an extraordinary school in my hometown?” she says.

Cella jumped at the chance to enrol in the Bachelor of Science program at UBC’s Okanagan campus when the offer came her way.

Following her graduation in 2012, however, Cella had no idea what to do next. A friend suggested engineering, and recommended that she talk to Associate Professor Dr. Cigdem Eskicioglu in UBC’s School of Engineering.

Eskicioglu referred Cella to environmental engineering courses and things clicked—Cella was accepted as a MASc student with Eskicioglu as her supervisor.

As a member of Eskicioglu’s Bioreactor Technology Group, Cella’s research focuses on solids that are isolated from wastewater treatment streams. After sludge has been treated with special bacteria, the result is methane-rich biogas and a bio-solid that is low in pathogens and high in nitrogen and phosphorus. These bio-solids can then be used as a soil additive in agriculture.

“It is fascinating technology,” Cella says. “Everyone is contributing to finding the solutions that the world needs.”

As a result of her hard work, she has been accepted to present the results of her research at the 2015 WEF/IWA Residuals and Bio-Solids Conference in Washington, DC in early June.

“I will be presenting both a poster and a 30-minute podium presentation in front of professionals from all over the world.”

As far as future plans, Cella submitted her thesis and hopes to be graduating in the near future. She has also been hired as a Project Research Assistant for the Liquid Waste Services of Metro Vancouver.

Leave a Reply