"It’s a very holistic profession and it’s a way of seeing the big picture – how all the different disciplines glue together, and how we can add value."
After an undergraduate degree in Environmental Health at the University of Strathclyde, she spent some years as an environmental health officer in local government, before returning to the University of Strathclyde to do a PhD. With a scholarship from the Carnegie Trust, she carried out her PhD research on diarrheal disease in the field in Southern Malawi, based at the University of Malawi, where she has been ever since.
She has recently been working with Kevin McGuigan, as part of the WATERSPOUTT project, and has been working closely with communities to make the solar disinfection technology as user-friendly as possible. In particular they have been designing ceramic filters, to work alongside SODIS, and she hopes that this project could help improve Malawi’s fragile economy.
"I’d like to see us develop something that can be made locally", she says, "by women’s groups or small, local manufacturers. The filters could be made and fired in a traditional claypot kiln. Locals can make and sell them, and they have minimal environmental impact."
Tracy has a piece of advice for anyone starting a career in environmental health: "Find your area of passion, but don’t lose your holistic perspective. Even when specialising, maintain the connection between different disciplines, as that’s the way to really bring benefit to communities."