Nadia Hollan Burke
Superfund Research Program
Nadia Hollan Burke, a former SRP-funded graduate student from the University of Arizona, fearlessly faces the daily challenges of managing multiple Superfund sites in Arizona and Nevada. She is currently an active Remedial Project Manager (RPM) at the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9 Office in San Francisco, California.
For about nine years (until 2007), Nadia was responsible for a large VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)-contaminated groundwater site in Phoenix; this particular site allowed Nadia to utilize her education and experience. She is currently working on an abandoned copper mine in Yerington, NV, and continues to work with a couple of sites in AZ.
As an undergraduate, Nadia received her Bachelors in Environmental Science (biology concentration) from Northern Arizona University (1995). She completed her Masters in Environmental Engineering from the University of Arizona in 1997, where she worked in the SRP-funded laboratories of Drs. Bob Arnold and Eric Betterton . While working in these laboratories, Nadia focused on testing innovative technologies for abiotic dehalogenation of trichloroethylene and other VOCs. Her research specifically focused on the effect of ultraviolet light on the abiotic processes of dehalogenation and reducing chemicals that catalyzed the reaction.
Nadia ascribes part of her success with her experience she received through the SRP, “Superfund expose[d] me to the various engineering issues in the Superfund program and the technical knowledge required to manage and oversee large and complex contaminated sites. It also taught me to engage in cooperative relationships with various experts and interested parties in order to achieve results, which is an essential skill needed as a Superfund Project Manager.”
In 2006, the San Francisco Regional Office nominated Nadia as “RPM of the Year,” a remarkable achievement for such a young RPM. Her nomination was attributed to her concurrent work as co-chair with the National Association of Remedial Project Managers (NARPM) and for her role in the Regional Support Corps (i.e., supporting the disaster response for Hurricanes Katrina/Rita). Yet, even as she was actively participating with the aforesaid organizations, Nadia completed critical milestones on her projects as an active RPM.
Currently, Nadia is collaborating with the University of Arizona SRP Research Translation Coordinator (RTC), Mónica Ramirez, on a 2008 NARPM workshop session, “Working Together: Aligning Communities, Academia and the USEPA.” They hope their brainstorming will increase the RPMs’ awareness of SRP-funded university outreach activities. Consequently, Nadia championed the notion of having SRP-funded universities participate in presentations demonstrating how a successful alliance between academia and the community could yield positive results through community-based, participatory research. Nadia believes that other RPMs need to be aware of the resource SRP-funded universities have to offer, particularly in community education.