Photo of Sofia  Herczegh

Sofia Herczegh

Current Degree Program

Carleton University – M.Sc. Chemical and Environmental Toxicology


Research supervisor: Robert Letcher

Field: Environmental Chemistry

I have been studying a new flame retardant chemical posed as a replacement for historical compounds banned due to toxicity. In quantifying its biotransformation and metabolites, we can better understand if this compound is a safe alternative by determining how fast it is metabolized and what compounds are produced as metabolites. My research has been disseminated within Environment & Climate Change Canada, specifically for the purposes of risk assessment under the Chemicals Management Plan. It has also been shared with BizNGO, a working group of industry representatives, risk assessors and toxicologists. My time commitment to research each week is about 30-40 hours. During the first semester, I focused on conducting a literature review and completing my research proposal, then the focus was laboratory work following by completion of the written thesis. I attended more virtual conferences than expected due to covid (3 in total), all SETAC meetings (Society of Environmental Toxicologists & Chemists). In terms of in-person conferences, I am presenting a poster at the SETAC Europe 2022 meeting in Copenhagen and may present at the 2022 Brominated Flame Retardants Symoposium.

Teaching & Outreach

My average time commitment to teaching each week is about 5 hours, depending on having submissions due. I T.A. CHEM 1001, CHEM 1002, and CHEM 1005. My time is also spent volunteering for Let’s Talk Science, which is about 10 hours per semester to prepare for and deliver hands-on science workshops in elementary schools.


I grew up near Toronto, so Ottawa is a smaller city than I’m used to with a bit less activity. I live in Old Ottawa South which has great transportation and grocery access, although less housing is available. I’ve gotten involved in clubs/societies/groups by attending Expo Carleton. Through this I’ve had to opportunity to make many friends to experience ski trips, hiking, and excursions around the city. I play Ringette competitively in Ottawa and enjoy exhibits, restaurants and nightlife. Campus has a great fitness centre, large pool and several options for group fitness classes. At peak times the facilities are busy, but I have used the Carleton athletics facilities for six years, saving a lot of money on not having to purchase memberships elsewhere! The T.A.stipend is competitive compared to the other schools I considered, and R.A. stipends can vary depending on the research group but I found mine to be comfortable. Carleton also offers excellent entrance scholarships and external scholarships. Based on average cost of rent in Ottawa and after subtracting tuition fees, funding likely would not cover the total cost of living alone however helps considerably with cost of living in shared accommodations (i.e. with roommates).