La Salle assistant professor named Fulbright Scholar

March 21, 2024

Florence Ling, Ph.D. will be looking to develop pilot treatments for the contaminated streams

Florence Ling, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry assistant professor of environmental science

Florence Ling, Ph.D., will collaborate with a colleague from the U.K. on finding critical minerals vital to developing renewable energy technology.

La Salle University’s Florence Ling, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry assistant professor of environmental science, was selected by the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Program as a 2024-2025 Fulbright U.S. Scholar for the United Kingdom.

Ling will collaborate with Karen Hudson-Edwards, Ph.D., professor of sustainable mining, at the University of Exeter’s Camborne School of Mines, on finding critical minerals vital to developing renewable energy technology.

“As an environmental geochemist and mineralogist, I am thankful to the Fulbright Program for this opportunity to extend my research interests into looking for critical minerals in the U.K.,” Ling said. “Together with Dr. Karen Hudson-Edwards, we plan to look for critical mineral resources in mine waste around Cornwall and develop pilot treatments for the contaminated streams that can both treat the water and obtain those mineral resources that are needed. The project will provide insights that are also applicable to waters contaminated from mining in Pennsylvania that may also contain critical minerals.”

Fulbright Scholar Awards are prestigious and competitive fellowships that provide unique opportunities for scholars to teach and conduct research abroad. Fulbright scholars also play a critical role in U.S. public diplomacy, establishing long-term relationships between people and nations. Alumni of the Fulbright Program include 62 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 80 MacArthur Fellows, and thousands of leaders and world-renowned experts in academia along with many other fields across the private, public, and non-profit sectors.

Ling said she’d spoken with fellow La Salle faculty members who were former Fulbright Scholars including Chip Gallagher, Ph.D., Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice professor and Bill Price, Ph.D., professor emeritus and former Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry chair. The discussions motivated her to apply.

“I was looking for potential collaborators with the right fit, and I was lucky that Karen was in a school that participated in the program and that her research interests also aligned with mine,” Ling said. “I first met Karen about 10 years ago when I was a graduate student attending a conference in Prague, and I was paired with her in a mentorship program. I was very fortunate that all of these things lined up for this opportunity.”

Ling will be conducting her research from September 2024 through December 2024.

“Dr. Ling is an extraordinary scientific researcher and is easily one of the most accomplished scholars at La Salle,” Zeb Kramer, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said. “Her Fulbright project will develop new ways to identify and extract critical mineral resources from mining wastewater in an environmentally conscious way. Dr. Ling currently runs a vibrant undergraduate research group at La Salle, and the work that she brings back from the University of Exeter will stimulate new, exciting, and scientifically impactful research projects for La Salle science students for years to come.”

With the long history of mining in Pennsylvania and in the U.S. as a whole, the expertise Ling will return with from her Fulbright experience has the potential to connect La Salle to collaborations with both professionals in the mining and mineral resource industries, and R1 environmental science research programs in the U.S. and U.K., Kramer elaborated.

“Dr. Ling’s Fulbright work will raise the profile of La Salle’s Environmental Science Program and enhance La Salle’s reputation for excellence in undergraduate research and science education,” Kramer said. “The La Salle science departments could not be prouder of our absolutely incredible colleague.” Additionally, the research opportunity speaks directly to the pillars in La Salle’s strategic plan for increasing innovation and global partnerships.