Academy of Distinguished Alumni

Laurel Schaider headshot

Laurel Schaider Ph.D.

Inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni on

Laurel Schaider received her S.B. (1997) in Environmental Engineering Science from MIT. Dr. Schaider completed both her M.S. (1998) and Ph.D. (2003) degrees in Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley. She is currently a Senior Scientist at Silent Spring Institute, a non-profit scientific research organization focusing on the environment and women’s health, where she has worked since 2009. Dr. Schaider was previously a Research Associate at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and held lecturer positions at Northeastern University and MIT prior to that.

Dr. Schaider is a trailblazer in water quality research, specifically focused on unregulated drinking water contaminants and safeguarding historically marginalized communities from environmental chemical exposures. Notably, she leads pivotal studies funded by the CDC and NIH and serves in influential roles advising ATSDR and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.. Dr. Schaider’s research has been groundbreaking, particularly in identifying sources of exposures to PFAS chemicals in drinking water, food, and consumer products. She has provided testimony to legislative committees in states across the US to catalyze policies and programs to protect communities from these risks, and her impactful contributions resonate in policy changes addressing PFAS exposure.

Dr. Schaider has gained nationwide recognition as an expert on PFAS contamination and drinking water quality. Her research articles have been cited over 2,500 times by other researchers, and she has been quoted by National Public Radio, The Washington PostThe PBS NewsHour, Living on Earth, The Dr. Oz ShowChemical & Engineering News, and many other local and national news outlets. 

Dr. Schaider maintains connections to the UC Berkeley CEE department where she has been invited to discuss her research and provide guidance on career opportunities to current students.