Lorena Rios Mendoza

Dr. Lorena
Rios Mendoza

Office: Barstow Hall 311A


Lorena received her B.S. in Chemistry and her Ph.D. in Chemistry Oceanology. Her Ph.D. dissertation was about the development of a new reduction-oxidation sensor. During her Master’s degree, she was dedicated to studying chemistry pollution by persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals in seawater, sediments and organisms. Lorena feels passionate about the science field and chemistry has always been her favorite. She is dedicated to studying environmental chemistry pollution with a specific focus on microplastic pollution. Lorena is convinced that teaching is a huge responsibility and simultaneously gives her profound satisfaction and pride to know about the successes of her students. She likes to work with students to prepare them to be her future colleagues.

In her spare time, Lorena loves to dance salsa/Latin music as cardio exercise and has a passion for the environment, especially for the oceans and the Great Lakes. She likes to travel around the world and read science fiction and romance literature.

Research Interests

Lorena has been working for several years with microplastic pollution. Currently, she is researching the concentration of toxic compounds adsorbed on plastic particles, sediments and tissue samples from the oceans and the Great Lakes. Working with emerging contaminants, such as caffeine, phthalates and triclosan, Lorena’s research interest has a wide range. Now, she is working with samples from Newton Creek and St. Louis River Estuary to assess the contamination of polycyclic aromatic compounds. These compounds are mainly formed from the incomplete combustion of gasoline and from petroleum. She is constantly giving seminars at scientific conferences at national and international levels. In addition, she gives talks to people at a community level to discuss issues about plastic pollution and its consequences in our freshwater systems. She engages her students in analytical chemistry research and collaborates with them to present their research results at conferences.


  • 2018 – Max H. Lavine Award, University of Wisconsin-Superior
  • 2018 – Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award, University of Wisconsin System
  • 2015 – Faculty Mentor of the Year, University of Wisconsin-Superior
  • 2015 – Making a Difference Award, University of Wisconsin-Superior
  • 2001 – Mérito Escolar (Scholar Merit), Universidad Autónoma  de Baja California
  • 2001 – A Los Mejores Estudiantes de México (The Best Ph.D. Students of México), Diario de México 


  • 2001 – Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) – Coastal Oceanographic Sciences, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California
  • 1994 – Master of Science (M.S.) – Coastal Oceanographic Sciences, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California
  • 1989 – Bachelor of Science (B.S.) – Chemistry, Universidad National Autónama de Mexico