Texas A&M Superfund Trainee Receives National K.C. Donnelly Award

Story by Megan Myers, CVMBS Communications

Alexandra Cordova headshot
Alexandra Cordova

Alexandra Cordova, a Ph.D. student in the Texas A&M Interdisciplinary Faculty of Toxicology (IFT) program, has been awarded a prestigious K.C. Donnelly Externship Award Supplement by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Superfund Research Program (SRP).

As one of 14 award recipients, Cordova received $10,000 to fund her research with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and will present on her project at the 2022 Superfund Research Program’s annual meeting.

The award, established in 2009, honors environmental health researcher and Texas A&M Superfund member Kirby (K.C.) Donnelly, Ph.D.; it supports SRP graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are pursuing transdisciplinary research.

“I’m so honored and grateful to receive this award,” Cordova said. “Scientific collaboration in exposure science represents one of the main legacies imparted by Dr. K.C. Donnelly to the Superfund Program at Texas A&M, and this is kept alive today in the teamwork demonstrated by investigators in all branches of the program.

“Throughout my time thus far as a graduate student, I have deeply admired this quality of our program, and I look forward to incorporating and encouraging scientific and transdisciplinary collaboration throughout my forthcoming career,” she said. “This award is incredibly special for us, since my adviser, Dr. Ivan Rusyn, was recognized as K.C. Donnelly Professor by Texas A&M University in 2019. I am so grateful to Dr. Donnelly for inspiring me, my mentor, and my support system.”

As a member of the Texas A&M Superfund Research Center, Cordova works in the laboratory of Dr. Ivan Rusyn, a University Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ (CVMBS) Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences (VIBS). Her work involves using novel analytical methods to determine the chemical compositions and sources of complex petroleum substances.

The K.C. Donnelly award will support Cordova’s work to develop a new approach to chemically characterize complex substances, which will help researchers understand how spilled substances may behave during a disaster event.

The proposed work will be conducted at LANL in New Mexico, where Cordova will work under the mentorship of Dr. Jared Crochet.

“This award is a great honor for the entire Superfund Center at Texas A&M and I am very pleased that Ms. Cordova’s innovative project that would greatly benefit from a partnership with LANL was recognized,” said Ivan Rusyn, M.D., Ph.D.

Cordova is from Frisco, Texas, and graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance.

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For more information about the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at vetmed.tamu.edu or join us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of CVMBS Communications, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences; jgauntt@cvm.tamu.edu; 979-862-4216


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