Eden Halpert wins Irene Tilenius Bloom Prize for Summer 2021
Eden Halpert is a senior, double majoring in Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures and Environmental Science. She is interested in the intersection between the environment, public health, and social issues in Asia through the lens of agriculture. Outside of class, Eden serves as a peer mentor at Access Barnard and serves as a research assistant at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She has led a group of high school students in environmental field research through the Secondary School Field Research Program, and was an intern for the State Department's Greening Diplomacy Initiative.
Through her work as a research assistant at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, she studies soil chemistry and arsenic mobilization in rice paddies. As rice provides over 50% of calories consumed in Asia, arsenic concentration in rice is a major public health issue linked to chronic and terminal diseases. Rice is more enriched in arsenic than other cereal grains, such as wheat or barley, due to its flooded growth conditions. In Summer 2022, Eden traveled to Vietnam to perform fieldwork and harvesting of a small crop of Zinc fertilized rice in the village of Lấp Vò, Đồng Tháp in the Mekong River Delta. She collaborated with students and scientists from Yale University, Vietnam National University in Hanoi, and Fulbright University in Ho Chi Minh City as well as local farmers. Her final thesis will examine the effect on Zinc fertilization on inhibiting arsenic uptake in rice, and also the role rice plays in the economics, public health, government regulation policies of Vietnam.