Ms. Myat Thandar Aung (Myat) is from Yangon, the Capital city of Burma (Myanmar), where she completed high school with a science concentration. In 2008, for political reasons, she and her family had to leave Yangon for Nu Poe Refugee Camp in Thailand, where she stayed for two years spending most of her time studying and teaching English. She then got the chance to study at Minmahaw Higher Education Program (MHEP) in Mae Sot, Thailand where she earned her GED and was endowed a scholarship to study at Mahidol University International College in Bangkok, Thailand. She graduated from Mahidol in 2015 with a bachelor’s in Environmental Science and Technology. As a student she performed aquatic toxicology research on endocrine disruptors, and biotech methods for removal of heavy metals from water.

Myat is fluent in Burmese and English. She has experience working in education, and in logistics and administration with NGOs. Her ultimate desire is to work in water quality, water/wastewater treatment, and community WASH in Irrawaddy Division (central Burma) where agriculture, industry, oil and gas, mining, and municipal waste all hugely impact the aquatic environment and human health.

With her bachelor’s degree from Mahidol and research lab experience she is very qualified to work in the technical WASH / water treatment field. She applied for one such job with a noted organization in Burma, but was denied the position because she is a woman. In December 2015 she began working with Aqueous as a field research and service project assistant. Aqueous is committed to helping Myat gain experience in the field and access further higher education opportunities to perform research and advance her studies, so that she can return to central Burma and pursue her dream of advancing environmental quality and human health in central Burma.

In her own words: “I have a great interest in low-cost, efficient water and wastewater treatment system as environmental health (toxicology) issues are of great concerns back in Myanmar and yet it has not been paid enough attention. Groundwater exploitation, direct industrial wastewater discharge, and consumption of very likely contaminated surface water especially the sources closed to the agricultural area are all needed to be examined for their impacts. I love science and water; and, knowing that it can be of benefits for people in need is a great inspiration to move forward.”