Group News

“Future Ingenieros” back at NC State

June 16, 2022 – High school students from across North Carolina attended the 2022 Future Ingenieros workshop to learn about engineering. Dr. Fernando Garcia Menendez and collaborators from NC State organized the program’s first in-person workshop since 2019 with 38 participants. This year, students learned about microfluidics, microscopes, and heat exchangers. The Future Ingenieros program was created in 2018 to expose Latino students to opportunities at NC State and encourage enrollment in engineering.

James wins CCEE 5th Annual Three Minute Thesis Competition

April 18, 2022 – PhD student James East won first place in the NC State Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering’s Annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition. In the 3MT competition, students need to present their research to an audience of judges and colleagues in three minutes and use one static visual slide to make a compelling and concise statement about their thesis topic and its significance to society. James gave the winning presentation on examining air pollution from space using satellite data to better understand the impact of emissions. PhD student Qian Luo also participated and delivered a great presentation on how power sector decarbonization can impact different demographic groups.

Fernando participates in Perspectives on Climate Risk panel at NC State

April 13, 2022 – Dr. Fernando Garcia Menendez discussed air pollution risks and impacts of climate change in the Perspectives on Climate Risk in Natural-Human Systems panel held at NC State. The panel was organized by the Student Energy Club and attended by undergraduate students, graduate students, and researchers interested in energy technologies and policy. The panel also included Dr. Kathie Dello from the North Carolina State Climate Office and Dr. Jordan Kern from the NC State College of Natural Resources.

Fernando discusses fire and the wildland urban interface on Fueling Collaboration Series

February 17, 2022 – Dr. Fernando Garcia Menendez was invited to discuss Fire and the Wildland Urban Interface in the Eastern US as part of the Fueling Collaboration Panel Discussion Series. These interactive virtual panel discussions, organized by the US Forest Service and partner organizations, bring people together to discuss, explore, and address the latest fire science and fire management issues. In this edition, panelists discussed how wildfire, prescribed fire, and climate change intersect in the wildland urban interface of the East. Close to 400 land managers and researchers attended virtually from across the country and abroad. The recorded discussion is available here.

Sadia and Fernando deliver Southern Fire Exchange webinar 

August 12, 2021 – Recent research group graduate Dr. Sadia Afrin and Dr. Fernando Garcia Menendez presented research findings and results during a webinar hosted by the Southern Fire Exchange. The webinar covered recent research that used burn permit records, air quality modeling, and epidemiological associations to examine the impacts of prescribed burning, with a focus on case studies in Georgia and North Carolina. Over 180 attendants joined the webinar.

Megan receives Graduate Research Innovation award from the JFSP

July 30, 2021 – PhD student Megan Johnson was awarded a prestigious Graduate Research Innovation (GRIN) award from the US Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP). The award funds student-authored proposals for original research that augments their dissertation work and enhances its policy relevance. The $25,000 award will support Sadia’s effort to identify Southeastern communities impacted by smoke from wildland fires and investigate potential shifts under climate change. Congratulations Megan!

Sadia successfully defends Ph.D. dissertation

June 3, 2021 – PhD student Sadia Afrin successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, titled “Evaluating the Impacts of Prescribed Fire on Air Quality and Public Health in the Southeastern U.S.” The dissertation was approved by her doctoral committee, which included Andrew Grieshop (Env. Eng.), Joe Roise (Forestry) and Yang Zhang (Northeastern Univ.). Having completed an excellent Ph.D. at NC State, Sadia will join MIT as a Postdoctoral Associate this Fall. Congratulations Dr. Afrin!

Qian and Haofan awarded A&WMA Scholarships

May 10, 2021 – PhD student Qian Luo was awarded the 2021 Air Pollution Control and Waste Minimization Research Scholarship from the Air and Waste Management Association. MS student Haofan Li received the Association’s 2021 Sustainability Research and Study Scholarship. The A&WMA scholarships are awarded in recognition of academic excellence and professionalism. Congratulations Qian and Haofan!

Fernando receives Blessis Advising Award

April 25, 2021 – The NC State College of Engineering presented Fernando Garcia Menendez with the 2020-21 George Blessis Advising Award. The award recognizes faculty members who consistently and willingly give their time and effort to advising, counseling and mentoring students, and assisting student groups. It is also a continuing memorial to George H. Blessis, a faculty member whose interest in undergraduate education and advising serves as an example today. Dr. Blessis was a faculty member in Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering until 1987. Candidates are nominated by their department and are selected by the College of Engineering Teaching and Advising Awards Committee.

Megan awarded USGS Science to Action Fellowship

April 20, 2021 – PhD student Megan Johnson received a Science to Action Fellowship from the U.S. Geological Survey. The Science to Action Fellowship program supports graduate students in developing a product that puts science into action, directly applying scientific research to decision-making about natural resources. Fellows collaborate with USGS mentors and work on high-priority, real-world challenges in natural resources. As a fellow, Megan will study the shifting impacts of wildland fire smoke and land management practices under climate change. Congratulations Megan!

Qian selected as Energy Data Analytics Fellow

February 21, 2021 – PhD student Qian Luo was selected as a 2021 Energy Data Analytics Student Fellow by the Duke University Energy Initiative. The initiative is focused on advancing an accessible, affordable, reliable, and clean energy system. As part of the program, fellows receive financial support, participate in workshops with faculty and peers, learn about data science and energy topics, and disseminate their project outcomes. Qian plans to use this opportunity to strengthen her doctoral research on reducing health impacts from power-sector emissions in China. Congratulations Qian!

Group members present their research at 2020 AGU Fall Meeting, Megan receives Outstanding Student Presentation Award

December 20, 2020 – PhD students Sadia Afrin, Megan Johnson, and James East presented their research at the 2020 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, which was help virtually this year. Sadia presented a poster describing her research on “The air quality tradeoffs of wildfire and prescribed burning”, conducted with support of Shannon Koplitz and Kirk Baker from US EPA. James shared a poster about his work on the “Impact of climate related uncertainty on projections of US air quality and implications for extremes” describing research done in collaboration with Erwan Monier from UC Davis.

Megan Johnson gave two presentations. She shared an eLightning presentation on “Public Perception of Smoke and Wildland Fire in North Carolina and the Influence of Proximity to Fire”. She also gave a presentation on “Evaluation of Smoke Modeling Tools Used for Estimating Air Quality Impacts from Prescribed Burning”. Megan Johnson received an Outstanding Student Presentation Award (OSPA) for this presentation. Only the top 2-5% of student presenters at the Fall Meeting each year receive an OSPA. Congratulations Megan!

Sadia and James present at 2020 CMAS Conference

October 28, 2020 – Ph.D. students Sadia Afrin and James East gave talks at the 2020 annual CMAS Conference (Community Modeling and Analysis System Conference). Sadia presented her research on “The air quality tradeoffs of wildfire and prescribed burning”, which was conducted in collaboration with Shannon Koplitz and Kirk Baker from US EPA. James talked about the research he is conducting on “Implementing satellite NO2 data assimilation in CMAQ for identifying emissions biases and improving regional boundary conditions”, which has been the focus of his ORISE RISE fellowship at US EPA. This year the conference was held virtually but included attendees from across the world.

James presents at AAAR Annual Conference

October 10, 2020 – Ph.D. student James East presented a poster at the 38th Annual Conference of the American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR) describing his research on uncertainty in simulations of climate impacts on PM2.5 pollution. The conference was originally planned to take place in Raleigh, just down the road from NC State, but was switched to a virtual format this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. The poster was titled “Impact of Climate Uncertainty on Projections of PM2.5 Pollution over the U.S.”

Sadia selected as CEE Rising Star

October 1, 2020 – Congratulations to PhD student Sadia Afrin on being selected to participate in the 2020 Rising Stars program! The Rising Stars workshop gathers outstanding women doctoral students and postdocs interested in pursuing teaching and research careers in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Launched at MIT in 2012, no more than 20 candidates are selected to participate each year. The workshop offers a unique opportunity for participants to plan their careers through interactive activities. This year’s workshop hosted by Carnegie Mellon University.

Fernando presents in US CLIVAR Large “Initial Condition” Ensembles webinar

September 8, 2020 – Dr. Fernando Garcia Menendez participated in a US Climate Variability and Predictability Program webinar showcasing new research on climate variability and change using initial-condition large ensembles. This webinar highlighted the most recent edition of Variations. Led by Clara Deser and Keith, this Variations issue features early-career scientists in a wide range of large ensemble applications. Fernando and Ph.D. student James East co-authored an article on Internal climate variability and initial condition ensembles in air quality projections for the edition.

Sadia completes internship at U.S. EPA

August 15, 2020 – Ph.D. student Sadia Afrin completed an internship working with U.S. EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards at Research Triangle Park, NC. The 8-month internship was supported by an award from the National Science Foundation through the National Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN) program. At EPA, Sadia worked with Drs. Kirk Baker and Shannon Koplitz to develop a modeling framework that can be used to study the effects of wildland fire on air quality and public health in the Southeast U.S. The internship provided an excellent opportunity for Sadia to undertake scientific research in a non-academic setting and be mentored by two air quality modeling experts. The experience also allowed her to learn EPA’s cutting-edge computational tools, work on EPA’s with high-performance computing systems, better understand air quality regulatory processes, and explore the policy implications of her research.

Megan selected as SE CASC Global Change Graduate Fellow

July 2, 2020 – PhD student Megan Johnson was selected as a member of the 2020-2021 cohort of the Global Change Graduate Fellows Program supported by the US Geological Survey’s Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center. Fellows receive financial and career support during the program as they use climate science to work with diverse stakeholders. Throughout the year, fellows get to organize different activities and participate in professional development opportunities. Congratulations Megan!