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Water quality of top priority to new central Florida UF/IFAS Extension agent

Yilin Zhuang joins the UF/IFAS Extension central district as a Regional Specialized Agent (RSA) in water resources.

UF/IFAS Extension RSAs cover multiple counties and specialize in a specific program area. Zhuang’s specialty is in water, specifically, integrated water resources management. Her coverage area includes Orlando and 11 central Florida counties.

“Water is a foundation of life but so many places and people do not have access to clean water,” she said. “My passion to help people understand the importance of water quality and quantity and make water safe and readily available to everyone is why I pursued this career.”

Previously, Zhuang was the Community Resource Efficiency agent for UF/IFAS Extension Marion County where she focused on public outreach of well water quality and septic system management. Zhuang holds a doctorate in civil engineering, where she studied the water-energy nexus, the relationship between how much water is used to generate and transmit energy and how much energy it takes to collect, clean, move, store and dispose of water.

“There is a lot of scientific research about water quality and how it relates to human health, but it is not available or accessible to most people,” she said. “Once I discovered Extension as a way to bridge that gap and educate people about water, I knew it was where I wanted to be. It is what got me into Extension and why I will stay in Extension.”

Zhuang will work across the central district to enhance water quality and quantity. While her research program, based at the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, is not yet defined she anticipates communicating important water issues to a variety of stakeholders including public officials and science teachers.

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