Alice (Xia) Zhu, M.Sc.
Environmental Analytical Scientist | Plastic Pollution Researcher | Environmental Champion
Youth march at the COP21 Negotiations in Paris, 2015.
Alice speaking to Citytv at the March for Jobs, Justice, and Climate in Toronto in summer of 2015 about the importance of youth in fighting for climate-friendly policies.
Session at the Paris Climate Summit (COP21) in 2015!
Alice speaking at the Museum of Contemporary Arts (MOCA) in 2019 about microplastic pollution in San Francisco Bay (her Master's research) and the Arctic.
Alice at a local beach clean-up in 2019 as part of the International Coastline Cleanup (ICC) initiative.
A Bit About Me
Hi! I am a PhD student in the Rochman Lab at the University of Toronto studying the sources, transport, and fate of plastic pollution in the environment as my main thesis. On the side, I also investigate the interconnections between plastic pollution, carbon cycling, and climate change.
I believe that every individual has the power to change the world. Specifically, I focus on environmental advocacy and empowering youth.
To date, I have initiated and been involved in numerous research endeavours, leadership roles, technological projects, and social initiatives. I also love cooking and travelling, and I play a lot of badminton!
For more information about my career and various projects, please see the left-hand side menu.
Thank you for visiting this site.
My EDI Statement
I am a cis-gendered woman of East-Asian descent. My parents and I immigrated to Canada when I was six for my education, and I realize that I am very privileged to be able to pursue an education here in this country. I currently conduct research on the land of the Anishinabewaki, Haudenosaunee, Mississauga, and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Land. Our family has faced financial hardships, which instilled in me the values of education, hard work, and respect for others. I am a woman in science from a minority group, I am aware that social justice issues exist in the workplace. My awareness of social justice issues is compounded by my heavy involvement in climate advocacy, for which I have drafted anti-oppression statements, spoken at public rallies, and written op-eds about the intersectionality between climate justice and other social justice issues including decent pay, worker's rights, respect for Indigenous sovereignty, colonialism, and feminism. In my research and beyond, I strive to foster a culture of inclusion. This means I will not tolerate discrimination of any kind, including but not limited to racism, ableism, homophobia, sexism, and ageism.
News and Media about Me:
Bioplastics alone won't save the planet because they reinforce the take-make-waste mindset of a linear economy: interview for UofT Arts & Sci and Bloomberg Opinion
Speaker at Nov 6 Rally in Toronto during COP26 urging world leaders to: respect Indigenous sovereignty, phase out fossil fuels, support workers and communities during a just transition, and promote climate justice globally
Co-organizer of "Toronto On Fire" climate rally leading up to the Federal Snap Election of September 2021 & demanded a just transition away from fossil fuels and for politicians to treat the climate crisis like a real emergency
Alumni feature in the School of Environment's news digest ("ENVision") in May of 2020
The complete list of 2020 Vanier Scholars can be found here (see 'NSERC' tab for Xia Zhu, Oceanography)
Public Talk at the Museum of Contemporary Arts (MOCA), From the Bay Area to the Arctic: Shezad Dawood and Alice Xia Zhu, September 2019
Leading a cleanup as part of the "Clean up the Don River" event, 2018
Hosted the Annual InnovaMasters Design Competition 2014-2015: "How might we harness human motion to generate clean energy?"
UofT Students at COP21 Assess new Paris Agreement (UofT News), 2015
UofT Students head to COP21 & UofT Students evaluate COP21 Agreement, Varsity News, 2015
Shad Valley alumni bringing change to the world, top alumni stories of 2015
A Youth Campaigner's Thoughts on Local Climate Action and their Impact (begins at 2:15)
School of Environment Scholarship Winners 2014-2015 (begins on page 17)
Schulich Leader Nominee Profiles 2012-2013
OFSAA 2012 Year in Recap: Toronto City Single's Winner and OFSAA B-Flight Finalist