A University of Wisconsin-Superior professor has been honored with a 2018 Outstanding Women of Color in Education award from the state’s university system.

Lorena Rios Mendoza, an associate professor of chemistry, was named a recipient of the award that is given annually to “faculty, staff, students or community members to recognize their achievements in advancing equity and inclusion for people of color within the UW System as well as communities across the state,” according to a news release.

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“Receiving this award was a great honor and privilege,” Rios Mendoza said in a statement. “This serves as a wonderful motivator to continue doing my work. I would like nothing more than to inspire students to finish their degree and to continue working together to fight for the environment.”

Rios Mendoza has conducted research on microscopic plastic pollution in oceans and lakes, with work published in peer-reviewed journals helping establish laws in Wisconsin and Michigan banning the use of microplastic beads in personal-care products.