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Amanda Darling

IGC FELLOW    |   Global Change Center

Ph.D. Student  •  Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Improving access to safe drinking water and sanitation for low resource settings, the intersection of environmental engineering and public health, rural drinking water systems

Advisor: Dr. Alasdair Cohen • Lab Website


Amanda is a PhD student in the Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Program at Virginia Tech and advised by Dr. Alasdair Cohen. Her research interests include drinking water quality and treatment methods with a focus on rural areas of Central Appalachia. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for her Bachelor’s degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering, then received a MS degrees in Environmental Engineering and Public Health at Virginia Tech. Through the Interfaces of Global Change program, Amanda hopes to be able to connect existing disparities for rural communities in the U.S. to our understanding of strategies to improve safe drinking water access globally.

For her PhD dissertation, Amanda will first conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis on drinking water quality and associated health outcomes in the Appalachian Region to identify key exposures of concern. Next she plans to initiate a field-based study, in collaboration with local stakeholders, to evaluate and better characterize drinking water contaminants and associated health outcomes in a low-income rural region of Southwest Virginia. With these research findings, she hopes to contribute to the efforts for safe freshwater and drinking water resources in rural communities, and provide data for policy-makers to better inform decision making on water and sanitation issues.

In her free time, Amanda enjoys traveling, spending time outdoors, and volunteering with local community organizations.  After graduate school, she hopes to continue conducting research at the intersection of environmental engineering and public health, potentially working for an agency or NGO researching water quality and security.