Sallie Gaillard, a graduate student working with Dr. Emily Sarver, has been recognized in the last year with three competitive awards for her research and academic excellence. The awards are the Sigma Xi (Scientific Research Society) M.S. Research Award, the SME Environmental Division Scholarship, and the department’s Outstanding Graduate Student Award.
Gaillard will complete her M.S. degree in mining engineering from the Virginia Tech mining and minerals engineering department this summer. She earned her B.S. degree, with a concentration in Earth Science, from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. As an undergraduate, Sallie worked as research intern for the NC State Minerals Research Lab. Prior to taking on graduate work at Virginia Tech, Gaillard worked in industry as an environmental research technician at the SELEE Corporation.
Gaillard’s research interests as an undergraduate led her on a direct path to Dr. Emily Sarver and the department, as they both share interests at the intersection of mining and the environment. Dr. Sarver was able to offer her a Graduate Research position in the fall of 2015 to work on a CDC/NIOSH-funded project focusing on DPM measurements in underground mines. The new graduate student quickly familiarized herself with the theory and literature while successfully completing a course load heavier than most graduate students to complete several pre-requisites.
Under the CDC/NIOSH project, Gaillard served as a team leader for diesel particular matter (DPM) research and helped design and implement experiments for carrying out DPM monitoring in underground mines. Her work investigated the occurrence of DPM and dust in the upper respirable range so that exposure levels can be more accurately determined. Part of her work also included calibrating sensitive environmental monitoring equipment as well as using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) methods to confirm occurrence of DPM.
“Sallie has been a great team member,” explained Sarver. “Beyond her curiosity and drive to learn, she is an excellent project manager whose work is bolstered by her organizational and social skills.”
Gaillard is cited as an author or co-author for four peer-reviewed publications. In addition to her recent research awards, Gaillard has been the recipient of numerous scholarships, to include the Davenport Fellowship for Leadership Scholars and the SME/WAIMME scholarship. She was named a UNC University Research Scholar for her undergraduate work, and she has presented research at the SME Annual Conference and Expo.