Group News

Sadia and James present at 2020 CMAS Conference

October 28, 2020 – PhD 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 – PhD 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 PhD 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 – PhD 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!

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 – PhD 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.