B.S. (2006) in Environmental Sciences and Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Massachusetts at Amherst; Magna Cum Laude; Commonwealth Honors College.
Honors Thesis: Phytoremediation Potential for Crambe Plant (Crambe abyssinica) of Heavy Metal Contaminated Soil
My research focuses on environmentally important soil chemical reactions. Specifically, I am interested in how pollutants (like metals) react in soil and with clay minerals. Currently, I focus on several projects that investigate the chemical forms (species) and reactions of nickel in serpentine soils and on clay minerals. I use synchrotron based techniques like X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS) to speciate nickel present in serpentine soils. This research will improve our understanding of the chemical forms of nickel in serpentine soils, the fate of nickel released from the soils, and the nickel hyperaccumulating plants that are native to them. I also carry out in situ experiments using Quick-Scanning XAS (Q-XAS) to examine the sorption reaction of nickel on clay mineral surfaces. The specific aim of this study is to determine in real-time, in situ, and at the molecular scale for the first time the kinetics of trace metal rich nickel-aluminum layered double hydroxide (Ni-Al LDH) precipitate formation on clay minerals. Lastly, I'm applying computational chemistry methods to understand the stability of environmentally important Ni-Al LDH, which precipitates on the surface of clay minerals in soil and sequester heavy metals in the solid phase.
Siebecker, M., D.L. Sparks 2010. Nickel Speciation in Serpentine Soils using Synchrotron Radiation Technique, p.160-162. In Gilkes RJ, Prakongkep N, eds. Proceedings of the 19th World Congress of Soil Science; Soil Solutions for a Changing World; Symposium 2.2.1; Biogeochemical interfaces in soils #2. Brisbane, Australia, August 1-6.
Siebecker, M., T. Centofanti, R. Chaney and D.L. Sparks. 2009. Geogenic Nickel Speciation in Serpentine Soils and Its Relationship to Nickel Uptake in Hyperaccumulator Plants. ASA-CSSA-SSSA 2009 International Annual Meeting. Pittsburgh, PA, November 1-5.
Academic Fellowships and Scholarships
2007 – present University of Delaware Fellowship