Saria Sato Bajracharya ’20 Named Erasmus Mundus Scholar

Saria Sato Bajracharya 20 has been accepted into the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree programme in Environmental Contamination and Toxicology (ECTPlus) with a two-year, fully funded Erasmus Mundus scholarship.

The program will allow her to study at the University of Bordeaux in France, University of the Basque Country in Spain, and the Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology in Norway. During her semesters in France and Spain, she will take fundamental courses in pollution biogeochemistry as well as in aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicology. The courses also will include practical components such as environmental data analysis, analytical chemistry, and environmental risk assessment that will help her gain transferable skills for a career in environmental toxicology.

Sato Bajracharya, who graduated in December with a degree in Environmental Science, says her specialization track will focus on Arctic Contamination and Toxicology. She will spend a year in Norway, including the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard, conducting fieldwork to learn the biological consequences of environmental contaminants on wildlife at higher latitudes.

Sato Bajracharya hails from both Chiba, Japan, and Kathmandu, Nepal. She currently is working with the Cornelius Bird Lab at Oregon State University studying the behavioral responses and coping mechanisms of crossbills in the face of unpredictable environmental changes such as food reduction. “While it may not seem directly related, I believe there is an overarching interconnection between human-induced climate change and environmental pollution, and their ecological and biological impacts on living organisms,” she says. “I’m also assisting with another project that focuses on the physiological effects of lead contamination in songbirds. I hope to transfer the lab and field skills from this work to help me conduct my own research into the impacts of environmental contaminants on the physiology of Arctic wildlife.”

During her time at CC, Sato Bajracharya spent three summers working with Lynne Gratz in the Environmental Studies program analyzing mercury levels in urban and terrestrial songbirds. “Professor Gratz presented me with the initial research opportunity that has now allowed me to pursue this master’s degree,” she says. “It means a lot to me as a first-generation student and I am beyond grateful for her continuous support throughout my time at Colorado College.”

Sato Bajracharya was awarded Colorado College’s Tashjian-Crecelius Women in Science Prize to present her findings at the 2020 North American meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry conference. She studied abroad in Denmark, where she learned about the importance of the interaction between local and global pollution issues, as well as the role of climate change in altering the formation and distribution of environmental contaminants. “Learning about the persisting and toxic impacts of these pollutants on sensitive ecosystems like the Arctic inspired me to pursue the chosen track for my master’s degree,” she says.

“I am looking forward to engaging with scholars from all around the world while studying in different parts of Europe and gaining first-hand experience in the field of ecotoxicology. After completing the program, I hope to continue with research as a wildlife ecotoxicologist and ultimately contribute to the management efforts and policies that are critical not only for wildlife conservation but also for the overall protection and safety of the environment,” she says.

Report an issue - Last updated: 05/16/2022