Hi everyone! My name is Samantha (Sam) Athey (pronouns she/her) and I'm a PhD candidate in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto where I study the sources and release pathways of anthropogenic microfibers, microplastics and associated chemical contaminants to the environment. I am also evaluating measures for mitigating microfiber and contaminant release to aquatic environments.
I grew up in southwest Florida where I spent almost everyday outside exploring the pine-lands and coastal habitats of the South. I was fascinated by the nature of local ecosystems and always asking questions and wanting to learn more about the abiotic processes that shaped them and the wildlife that lived there. It wasn't until elementary school that I learned this process that I loved of always asking questions and pursuing answers was science and thus my goal of being a career scientist was born!
Following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, I grew more interested in human impacts on the ocean and marine conservation. After finishing high school, I moved to coastal North Carolina to further my passion for marine conservation and interest in science. There received a B.Sc. with honors and M.Sc. in Marine Science from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where I conducted research on the impacts of plastic pollution and associated chemical contaminants in marine and estuarine ecosystems.
As a scientist, I know one of my most important jobs is not just being in the lab - it’s going out into the community, sharing what I learn with others and translating science. We need to help everyone gain a better understanding of the scientific process and how to interpret our data. A better informed public is key to moving science forward in solving global and everyday problems.
I currently volunteer with the Rochman Lab's @UofTTrashTeam and actively participate in outreach and science communication events, including cleanups.
In an effort to raise awareness about microfiber pollution, I also created the Microfiber Pollution Project blog. Check it out by clicking the link below to learn more about microfiber pollution!