Meet Wajeha Tauqir

Wajeha Tauqir is a second-year Ph.D. candidate in Chemical Engineering. As part of the 2022-2023 John Lof cohort, her current research is on water/brine treatment systems. In Tauqir’s work, models are developed to analyze the behavior of electrolytes in these brine solutions and then applied to water systems.

For her Master’s, Tauqir researched the use of biomass as a fuel in cogeneration plants, which are power systems that can produce heat and electricity for everyday use. In another study, she analyzed the efficiency of different materials in an off-grid solar thermal water heating system.

These studies have a wide range of applications to the populace. One can help improve water quality for millions worldwide. Another looks at the best way to sustainably and independently heat a community’s essential needs. 

Taquir’s interest in environmentalism started back at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Pakistan. She acquired her Bachelor’s in Environmental Engineering and Master’s in Energy Systems Engineering there.

“During my undergrad, there were grid blackouts and a water crisis in Pakistan. I didn’t really like my first year, but in the middle of the degree, I realized that I liked water treatment. I started to study different renewable energy technologies. Pakistan has all these renewable resources, but they’re not utilizing them effectively,” said Taquir.

At NUST, she was the HR manager of the Environmental Club. The university’s Center for Environmental Protection Studies was her first exposure to a professional work environment. There, she analyzed wastewater samples from textile and cement industries for heavy metals.

Taquir started to branch out into environmental health for her jobs. She conducted environmental and health assessments of the facilities at Forward Gear, a company that manufactures soccer balls for FIFA. She did the same for Project Procurement International, but for big projects like housing in major cities in Pakistan. 

After spending some time at Arizona State University as a research scholar, Taquir started to apply for her Ph.D. Ultimately, she chose UConn because her interests aligned with the faculty here. She is now working with Professor Bollas in the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Department. 

Taquir heard about John Lof Leadership Academy at the introductory seminars in the Engineering Department. In the end, she wanted to join because she felt that she could grow in her leadership skills.  

“I would say that I wanted to be part of a community where I could learn and grow myself as a leader as a team member. I want to brush up my leadership skills as well. I want to be more of someone who is more independent and who can interact with the world in a better way than I can right now,” said Taquir.