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Dr. Garret MKay
Dr. Garrett McKay | Image: Courtesy of Dr. Garrett McKay

Dr. Garrett McKay, postdoctoral researcher at the Colorado School of Mines, will be joining the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in fall 2019 as a member of the environmental engineering research group.

McKay’s research interests include aquatic photochemistry, dissolved organic matter and treatment of water pollutants such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, International Humic Substances Society, and Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors.

“The work I do involves focusing on chemical processes happening in both natural and engineered systems,” McKay said.

Environmental engineers investigate water quality, drinking and wastewater treatment, aquatic chemistry and a myriad of other factors related to interactions between society and the built world. In his research, McKay observes the transformations of organic pollutants caused by reactive oxygen species with a particular interest in how organic matter influences these processes.

“One goal is to understand the role that dissolved organic matter plays in these systems,” he said. “Organic matter is a complex mixture of molecules, making this a challenge. We apply tools to characterize organic matter from a variety of sources, allowing us to predict its chemistry in these systems.”

McKay’s postdoctoral research investigated novel remediation strategies for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances that are used in industrial processes, fire-fighting foams and non-stick materials. His strong dedication to environmental engineering research, and a love of teaching, ultimately drove him to Texas A&M.

“I’ve had a dream of becoming a processor for many years,” McKay said. “I really enjoy working with students and the research mentoring process. I enjoy seeing students become independent and helping them get to the next stage of their career.”