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An International Journey to a Bren Ph.D.

Sunday, June 14, 2015 - 16:28

Bren Commencement Adeleye - 1.jpg

Adeyemi Adeleye

Adeyemi Adeleye (left) and Steven Gaines, dean of the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

Photo Credit: 

George Foulsham

For Adeyemi Adeleye, the journey to a Ph.D. from UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management was a long one, both academically and geographically.

The Nigerian native completed a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife in Nigeria and then worked in industry for a couple of years before beginning Bren’s Master of Environmental Science & Management (MESM) program.

“I chose UCSB over other schools that admitted me because it is a perfect place to study the environment,” Adeleye said. “More so, the location is fantastic, and from my communication with Bren staff I felt they were very warm and friendly.”

Perhaps even more significant, his best friend from Nigeria was in California, and Adelye thought he’d have help settling in quickly. “Though he moved to Pennsylvania right after I accepted to come to UCSB,” Adeleye said.

After completing his MESM, it was a “no-brainer” for him to choose UCSB as the place to do his doctoral work. “Bren School has a world-class research center for studying environmental fate and effects of engineered nanomaterials, which is exactly what I wanted to do,” explained Adeleye. That facility is the National Science Foundation/Environmental Protection Agency-funded UC Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC-CEIN).

“I study the fate of engineered nanomaterials in natural waters and how different factors in aquatic systems influence the process,” he continued. “For my Ph.D., I tried to understand how phytoplankton and the macromolecules they produce determine what happens to engineered nanomaterials in natural waters.”

Adeleye’s advisor was Arturo Keller a professor of biogeochemistry at the Bren School, although he also worked closely with other Bren School professors, including Patricia Holden and Hunter Lenihan.

“Having a multidisciplinary research center at UCSB — the UC-CEIN — was helpful in helping me develop useful collaborations with researchers from other fields, which were vital for my study,” Adeleye said. “UCSB also had a lot of state-of-the-art analytical instruments, especially in MRL, that I could access to carry out my study.”

All this contributed to his overall academic success. It enabled him to produce work that was published in top journals in his field (11 in all, with several additional articles in the works); gain recognition and awards both within the university in the external research community, including a Dean’s Fellowship and graduate student award from the American Chemical Society; and present at important professional conferences.

“In addition, I got opportunities to teach and mentor younger students, many of whom have gone on to start grad school themselves, or work in industry or are completing their education at UCSB,” Adeleye said.

With his Ph.D. under his belt, Adeleye has been recommended for the Research Associateship Program at the Environmental Protection Agency’s research lab, which would begin next year. Until then, he will continue his research as a postdoctoral scholar at UCSB.