Program Scientist Receives Meritorious Service Award

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Dr. Isabelle M. Cozzarelli received the U.S. Department of Interior's second highest honorary award—the Meritorious Service Award—for her numerous contributions to understanding the biogeochemical controls of contaminant degradation in groundwater and near-surface environments.

Dr. Isabelle M. Cozzarellli (far right) and her colleagues pause for a photograph

Dr. Isabelle M. Cozzarellli (far right) and her colleagues pause for a photograph at the National Crude Oil Spill Fate and Natural Attenuation Research Site, Bemidji, Minnesota. They are holding a core sample collected with "freezing drive shoe" technology developed by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists. The freezing drive shoe enables nearly complete core recovery from saturated, sandy aquifers.

(Credit: Jeanne B. Jaeschke, Water Resources Mission Area. Public domain.)

The Meritorious Service Award is granted to employees of the Department of the Interior for important contributions to science or management, a notable career, superior service in administration or in the execution of duties, or initiative in devising new and improved work methods and procedures.

Dr. Cozzarelli is recognized nationally and internationally for her investigations of coupled hydrological, microbiological, and geochemical processes that have resulted in numerous highly cited publications on organic contaminant degradation. Her research has directly benefitted the prioritization of contaminated sites for cleanup and the design of optimal cleanup strategies, in particular the application of natural attenuation and bioremediation. Dr. Cozzarelli and her team are addressing potential risks of human and wildlife exposure and effects to contaminants through a combination of laboratory and field research on processes that affect the fate of organic and inorganic constituents. Dr. Cozzarelli is also dedicated to guiding junior scientists in their research careers at the U.S. Geological Survey.

Dr. Cozzarelli is a member of the Fate and Effects of Wastes from Unconventional Oil and Gas Development research team that is funded by the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program. The research team is conducting studies aimed at understanding the composition of oil and gas waste materials, identifying potential pathways to the environment, and evaluating potential effects on receptor organisms from exposure to constituents of these wastes. Dr. Cozzarelli has also been active in the Crude Oil Contamination in the Shallow Subsurface study at the U.S. Geological Survey Crude Oil Spill Fate and Natural Attenuation Research Site.

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