After completed her undergraduate program at UC Berkeley, Alexandra Polasko started the Ph.D. Environmental Engineering program at UCLA in Fall 2015 under faculty advisor Associate Professor Shaily Mahendra. Alexandra is a UCLA Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship and Malcolm R. Stacey Memorial Scholarship recipient and has recently been awarded the 2015 Len Assante National Groundwater Scholarship.

At UCLA, Alexandra will work on designing innovative molecular tools for predicting the activities of relevant biodegradative and metal-resistant enzymes under different types of growth and environmental conditions.  Changes in composition of microbial communities actively engaged in biodegradation of pollutants will be assessed by using next generation DNA sequencing methods.

The National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation (NGWREF), established in 1994, is focused on conducting educational, research, and other charitable activities related to a broader public understanding of groundwater. NGWREF offers multiple programs to help those working with and those that need groundwater, including the Len Assante Scholarship.