Group News

Fernando contributes to 2020 AWMA Critical Review Discussion

July 2, 2020 – Dr. Fernando Garcia Menendez participated as an invited discussant in the Air & Waste Management Association’s 2020 Critical Review presented at the ACE 2020 Virtual Conference. This year’s Critical Review focused on Wildfire and prescribed burning impacts on air quality in the United States and was led by Daniel Jaffe. The discussants, which included researchers across different scientific fields, provided additional perspectives and information. Discussion comments are compiled in an article published in the Journal of the A&WMA.

“Future Ingenieros” learn about engineering at NC State

June 25, 2020 – Fourteen high school students participated in this year’s edition of the Future Ingenieros program as part of the Juntos Summer Academy. The Garcia Menendez research group, and others from NC State’s College of Engineering, organized the first virtual edition of the program. The Future Ingenieros program was created to expose Latino students to opportunities at NC State and encourage enrollment in engineering. This year students worked on a project to study microscopic foram fossils, using a low-cost microscope and machine learning. Even though the third edition of the Future Ingenieros program had to be held virtually, it was a great success!

Sadia and Megan speak at 3rd International Smoke Symposium

April 21, 2020 – Ph.D. students Sadia Afrin and Megan Johnson presented their research at the 3rd International Smoke Symposium, which was held in a virtual format. Sadia gave two presentations at the symposium, one focused on “Model Performance and Sensitivity Analysis of 2016 Western North Carolina Wildfire Events” and the other discussing “Smoke Exposure of an Operational Prescribed Burning Program.” Megan presented her work on “Evaluation of smoke modeling tools used for estimating prescribed burning air quality impacts.” The International Smoke Symposium brings together a diverse audience of air quality regulators, land managers, and fire practitioners, research and extension communities, public health professionals, air quality and fire weather forecasting communities, and climate change researchers to discuss wildland fire smoke research, management, and policy.

Megan selected as AGU “Voice for Science”

April 1, 2020 – PhD student Megan Johnson has been selected as one of the American Geophysical Union’s “Voices for Science”. AGU’s Voices for Science program trains scientists to serve as effective communicators of the value of Earth sciences to decision-makers, journalists, and the general public. The program’s 2020-2021 class includes a cohort of 40 scientists in all career stages from a diverse group of institutions. As a member of the program, Megan will work directly with AGU staff and other program participants to conduct regular science communications and outreach activities for policymakers in North Carolina. Congratulations Megan!

Sadia wins 2nd place award in 3MT competition

February 26, 2020 – PhD student Sadia Afrin won second place in the NCSU Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering’s Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) contest. In her presentation, titled “Influence of Prescribed Burning on Air Quality of Southeastern U.S.”, Sadia discussed her research on the competing interests of land managers and air quality regulators as they relate to the use of prescribed fire. This competition helps students to refine their thinking about their research, define a clear message about how the work impacts the public, and present their work in an engaging way to an audience. Each student had three minutes and one static slide to present their work in an accessible way to a public audience. Congratulations Sadia!

Fernando delivers talk at AMS Annual Meeting

January 15, 2020 – Dr. Fernando Garcia Menendez delivered an invited presentation at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society. Fernando spoke about “Assessing Climate Variability and Change in an Ensemble Simulation of Climate Impacts on U.S. Air Quality and Public Health”. PhD student James East is contributing to this research, along with our collaborators Erwan Monier (UC Davis) and Rebecca Saari (University of Waterloo). The talk was part of a special session on The Use of Large Ensembles in Understanding Climate Variability and Change.

Sadia presents at AGU Fall Meeting

December 9, 2019 – PhD student Sadia Afrin showcased her research at the 2019 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco, CA. She presented a poster titled “Air quality and health impacts of an operational prescribed burning program”, describing her work to compare smoke exposures from wildfires and prescribed fires occurring on NC State Parks through chemical transport modeling. In this research, Sadia is collaborating closely with Shannon Koplitz and Kirk Baker from US EPA.

Research group members participate in 2019 CMAS Conference

October 23, 2019 – PhD students Sadia Afrin, Megan Johnson, James East, and Qian Luo presented their research at the 2019 annual CMAS Conference (Community Modeling and Analysis System Conference) in Chapel Hill, NC.

Sadia and Megan each prepared posters on their work with wildland fire impacts. Sadia presented a poster on “Evaluating the air quality impacts of an operational prescribed burning program.” Megan’s poster was titled “A comparison of land management modeling tools as used for estimating prescribed fire smoke impacts.”

Qian and James delivered platform presentations; Qian presented her work titled “Optimal use of grid-connected energy storage to reduce human health impacts,” and James presented “Particulate matter sensitivity to local emissions and meteorology over a Latin American megacity for source apportionment and uncertainty analysis.” Additionally, visiting PhD student Karen Ballesteros-González (from Universidad de los Andes in Colombia) talked about “Impacts of Medium-Range Transport of Biomass Burning Aerosols on Air Quality and Public Health in Colombia”.

The CMAS Conference is a premier air quality modeling conference that attracts researchers and atmospheric scientists from around the world. The conference agenda, including the presentations by each of the group members, can be found here.

Sadia receives Graduate Research Innovation award from the JFSP

October 4, 2019 – PhD student Sadia Afrin 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 compare the costs of an operational prescribed burning program to those of unplanned wildfires in collaboration with the NC Department of Parks and Recreation. Congratulations Sadia!