PharmSci-Urban Sustainability PhD candidate Zoha Siddiqua turns to nature for answers

Zoha Siddiqua and David Pitts talk with Chandler Park RangersWhen Wayne State launched a doctoral program combining pharmaceutical sciences with urban sustainability in late 2020, Zoha Siddiqua became the first PhD candidate to jump on board for the dual degree offered by the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in partnership with T-RUST (Transformative Research in Urban Sustainabiltiy Training). Now she's spending some of this summer enlisting the help of local K-12 students to conduct research and build awareness about the city's environmental spaces and their contaminants.

Detroit's Chandler Park Rangers program, which is supported by the Stellantis Foundation, encourages environmental consciousness through stewardship and education. Participating students were wowed by their new WSU friend's approach to the cause, according to Program Director Yvette Bass-Pullom, who took part in the fun.

Here's a look inside Siddiqua's summer day spent collecting data on pollinator insects with her research advisor, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences David Pitts, T-RUST Program Director Darrin Hunt, and their junior lab assistants. For more photos and videos, check out WSU Applebaum on Flickr.

Zoha Siddiqua David Pitts

 Zoha Siddiqua is the first PhD candidate in the dual pharmaceutical sciences and urban sustainability doctoral program, offered by WSU Applebaum in partnership with T-RUST, which is funded by the National Science Foundation. 

Dr. David Pitts (right) works with WSU students (and future Warriors!) in his lab as well as in Mother Nature's.

Zoha Siddiqua's Chandler Park research Zoha Siddiqua's Chandler Park research

Chandler Park Rangers collect samples for Siddiqua to take back to the lab.

Several collection stations were set up in Chandler Park on the eastside of Detroit.

Zoha Siddiqua's Chandler Park research  Zoha Siddiqua's Chandler Park research

Pollinating insects can teach us a lot about their surroundings – and provide sunny day entertainment!

Guided by Siddiqua, Chandler Park Rangers pull pollinating insects from the collection pad.

Zoha Siddiqua's Chandler Park research David Pitts

Siddiqua supervises a junior lab assistant.

Pitts makes friends wherever he goes.

Zoha Siddiqua with the Chandler Park Rangers

This research project was a walk in the park for Warriors and Rangers alike.

Special thanks to College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Associate Director of Marketing and Communications Jessica Archer being on hand to capture it all.

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Zoha Siddiqua's Chandler Park research Chandler Park

T-RUST Program Manager Darrin Hunt (center) checks in on the junior lab assistants' progress.

One of four 200-plus-acre regional parks in the City of Detroit, Chandler Park includes a golf course, aquatic center, community gardens and wetlands.

Zoha and David Pitts Zoha Siddiqua's Chandler Park research

Pitts, Siddiqua and Hunt plan their next move at Chandler Park in Detroit.

One look at this Chandler Park Ranger's face tells us that science is fun!

Zoha Siddiqua Zoha Siddiqua's Chandler Park research

Siddiqua's day in the park yielded valuable research materials for her PhD project.

In addition to yielding crucial data, the experience may have inspired Detroit students to follow in Siddiqua's footsteps and pursue science degrees at WSU.

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