Group News

Fernando participates in Colombian Congress and International Conference on Air Quality and Public Health

March 25, 2023 – Fernando was invited to participate in the IX Colombian Congress and International Conference on Air Quality and Public Health (CASAP), in Santa Marta, Colombia. During the event, Fernando discussed deforestation, climate change, and air quality as part of a panel along with Dr. Ricardo Morales from Universidad de los Andes and Dr. Dolors Armenteras from Universidad Nacional de Colombia. The CASAP Congress (a Spanish acronym for Calidad de Aire y Salud Publica) is a biennial international conference for air quality and public health that gathers Colombian researchers, authorities, and stakeholders.

Qian successfully defends PhD dissertation

December 19, 2022 – PhD student Qian Luo successfully defended her doctoral dissertation titled “Integration of Power Systems and Air Quality Models to Mitigate Negative Health Impacts of Electricity Generation”. Qian was co-advised by Prof. Jeremiah Johnson and her dissertation was also approved by committee members Andrew Grieshop (Env. Eng.) and Harrison Fell (Env. Eng.). Qian will join Princeton University as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the spring. Congratulations Dr. Qian!

Group shares research at 2022 AGU Fall Meeting

December 16, 2022 – PhD students Qian Luo, Megan Johnson, and James East shared their latest research at the 2022 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held in Chicago, IL. James gave a talk titled “Lightning-NOx Emissions, Impacts, and Evaluation Using Satellite Data Assimilation and Remote Observations” and presented a poster on “Projecting Climate-Driven Changes in Extreme Ozone Pollution under Natural Variability and Uncertain Climate Sensitivity”. Megan gave a presentation titled “Climate-Driven Changes in Wildland Fire Smoke and Land Management Impacts in the Southeastern U.S.”. Fernando presented Qian’s work on “Impacts of Accelerating Decarbonization in China on the Country’s Power System and Public Health”. Our collaborators also shared the recent results from our joint research, including Matt  Sparks and Rebecca Saari’s talk on “Effect of natural variability in mediating short-term adaptation to air pollution” and Haozhe Yang and Ranjit Deshmukh’s poster on “Health benefits and employment impacts of decarbonization in China’s electric power system.”

James successfully defends PhD dissertation

November 18, 2022 – PhD student James East successfully defended his doctoral dissertation, titled “Understanding multiscale air quality impacts of observed and projected emissions changes using chemical transport models.” The dissertation was approved by his doctoral committee, which included Andrew Grieshop (Env. Eng.), Chris Frey (Env. Eng.), Yang Zhang (Northeastern Univ.), and Baron Henderson (US EPA). James will join Harvard as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the spring. Congratulations Dr. East!

Fernando invited to First U.S.-Africa Frontiers of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Symposium

October 15, 2022 – Dr. Fernando Garcia Menendez participated in the First U.S.-Africa Frontiers of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Symposium in Nairobi, Kenya at the invitation of the US National Academies and the African Academy of Sciences. The Frontiers Symposium gathers young engineers, scientists, and medical professionals from the US and African Union countries to share their ideas and explore research collaborations. The symposium included discussions related to artificial intelligence, materials science, biodiversity, climate change and food security, and infectious diseases.

Megan presents at Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Symposium

September 19, 2022 – PhD student Megan Johnson presented her research at the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Symposium in Gulf Shores, AL. She gave a presentation titled, “Recent patterns and possible climate-driven changes in Southeastern wildland fire smoke impacts,” describing her work on climate-driven changes in wildfire, prescribed fire, and smoke exposure in the Southern US. Megan is a former Global Change Fellow of the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center.

Ricardo Morales visits group as Fulbright Scholar

August 10, 2022 – Professor Ricardo Morales from Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia is visiting the research group as a Fulbright Scholar during the Fall 2022 semester. Ricardo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering. His research uses modeling and observational tools for atmospheric aerosols to better understand air quality in the northern portion of South America, and the city of Bogotá in particular. At NC State he will work with Fernando to investigate the air quality impacts of deforestation in the Amazon.

Qian awarded 2022 AEE scholarship

August 7, 2022 – PhD student Qian Luo was awarded a 2022 scholarship from the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). AEE’s  Scholarship Program supports motivated and dedicated students in the fields of energy engineering, sustainability, and environmental engineering. Congratulations Qian!

Qian presents at 2022 A&WMA Annual Conference

June 28, 2022 – PhD student Qian Luo presented a poster titled “Reducing Power Sector Emissions in China for Climate and Public Health Benefits with Economic Dispatch” at the 2022 Air & Waste Management Association Annual Conference. In her poster, Qian discussed how changes to power system operations in China can reduce both CO2 emissions and public health impacts associated with electricity generation relying on existing facilities. Qian received a scholarship from A&WMA’s RTP Chapter supporting her travel to San Francisco for the conference.

“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.

Megan speaks at IAWF Fire & Climate Conference in Pasadena

May 26, 2022 – PhD student Megan Johnson presented her research at the Fire & Climate Conference in Pasadena, CA. She gave a presentation titled, “Southeastern U.S. populations impacted by smoke: Recent patterns and possible climate-driven changes,” describing her work to examine who is most frequently experiencing smoke in the Southeast and how this could change due to climate-driven changes in wildfire and prescribed fire activity. The conference was a hybrid event held by the International Association of Wildland Fire which brought together a diverse audience of scientists, managers, and fire personnel.

Megan visits Alaska for USGS Science to Action Fellowship

May 22, 2022 – PhD student Megan Johnson traveled to Alaska for seven weeks in the spring as part of her Science to Action Fellowship with the U.S. Geological Survey Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC). The fellowship program allows graduate students to collaborate with USGS mentors to work on high-priority, real-world challenges in natural resources, and travel to work at their mentor’s CASC office. Megan’s mentor is Jeremy Littell, a research ecologist at the Alaska CASC. While in Alaska, Megan interacted with staff of the Alaska CASC and the Alaska Fire Science Consortium, and took part in Research to Operations workshops as part of a NASA ABoVE science team meeting. She and Jeremy traveled to the 2019 Swan Lake wildfire burn scar to meet with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff and install meteorological and soil sensors as part of a project to monitor post-fire regrowth within the area. Megan was excited to learn more about fire and climate in Alaska and see how CASC staff work directly with various partners.

Qian begins internship at NREL

May 15, 2022 – PhD student Qian Luo began an internship at National Renewable Energy Laboratory. At NREL, Qian is working with Drs. Garvin Heath, Vikram Ravi, and Brian Sergi. During this internship, Qian will quantify the air quality and public health co-benefits of technologies designed to reduce CO2 emissions in the power sector and explore their environmental justice implications.

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.

Fernando talks at 2022 AMS Annual Meeting

January 27, 2022 – Dr. Fernando Garcia Menendez gave a presentation at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society. Fernando spoke about “Social disparities in exposure to Smoke from Wildland Fire and Land Management”, and presented work led by PhD student Megan Johnson and recent PhD graduate Sadia Afrin. The conference was held virtually this year.

James is a panelist at the HAQAST Update22 meeting

January 20, 2022 – PhD candidate James East was a panelist at the NASA HAQAST (Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team) Update22 meeting. During the panel on “Satellite-based NOx Emission Estimates for Urban Planning”, James discussed his research performing NOx emissions inversions with the OMI and TROPOMI satellite instruments. HAQAST was established by NASA to connect scientists and stakeholders for the purpose of disseminating satellite data used for air quality and public health research.

Group members present their research at 2021 AGU Fall Meeting

December 17, 2021 – PhD students Qian Luo, Megan Johnson, and James East presented their research at the 2021 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held in New Orleans, LA. Qian presented a poster describing her research on “Public Health Impacts and Environmental Justice Considerations of Decarbonizing the Texas Power Grid.” Megan shared a poster discussing her work titled, “Characterizing Southeastern Populations Impacted by Wildland Fire Smoke: Implications for Land Management Practices.” James presented a poster of his work on “Comparing OMI and TROPOMI NO2 Data Assimilation for Estimating NOx Emissions”. The group was excited to attend in person and hear the keynote address given by Dr. Robert Bullard, often described as the father of environmental justice.

Qian completes internship at Berkeley Lab

December 15, 2021 – PhD student Qian Luo completed an internship at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA. At Berkeley Lab, Qian worked with Dr. Jiang Lin on the development of an open-source power system modeling platform for China. This research will allow Qian to investigate the air quality and public health impacts of power sector transitions in China. The 6-month internship was supported by an award from the National Science Foundation through the National Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN) program.