Mairead Whelan

Mairead WhelanMPhil in Water Science, Policy, and Management

Mairead’s academic interests lie in the intersection between water, the environment, and population health. She is especially interested in global health, and how clean water, water scarcity, and climate change-induced weather patterns influence the spread of water-related illness.

Mairead received her Bachelor of Health Sciences degree from the University of Calgary, majoring in Health and Society with a concentration in Political Science (Honours, First Class). Her interests in water and health began when she was selected to attend a field school in Tanzania, where she worked on several projects regarding environmental and animal health, sanitation, and diagnosing diarrheal disease. Mainly, she helped introduce BioSand Filters, a low-cost low-tech water treatment device, into remote Maasai homes bringing clean water to more than 100 families. Since being inspired by this experience, Mairead also was a lead student on several environmental health research projects, including a novel initiative from the Alberta Children’s Hospital evaluating injury risk in urban neighbourhoods for kids at play, and a thesis project on how we can use water management to prevent an outbreak of pandemic avian influenza (H5N1) in Vietnam. Beyond her school work, Mairead also volunteers teaching Children’s classrooms in Calgary about humanitarianism, water, and sanitation.

Mairead chose to study Water Science, Policy, and Management at the University of Oxford & Green Templeton College to learn more about active solutions to health issues through applied water science and management techniques. She is hoping to complete her thesis at one of Oxford’s international research observatories, creating a tool to predict likely regional water-borne disease epidemics based on climate-change informed flood and drought patterns. Mairead is also looking forward to engaging with the Oxford and GTC campus community in clubs relating to her hobbies, art, painting, and soccer.