UF Environmental Engineers are reaching out to our community to build Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) enthusiasm. We've set up a hands-on experiment with gases, particles, and phase partitioning for K-12! (like this http://science.wonderhowto.com/how-to/create-cloud-bottle-419942/). We've taken this activity to several schools and made an accompanying worksheet about air quality.
Now a student group, organized by Ph.D. Candidates Yue Hu and David W. Spellman, is taking this experiment and more to schools around Gainesville. A group of students in Environmental Engineering Sciences at UF developed four environmentally-focused STEM activities for K-12. These include modules on recycling, air pollution (see above), the nitrogen cycle and water treatment. They have visited three schools in spring semester and plan to visit another three in the coming month. The group has roughly 15 participating students (both undergraduate and graduate).
The "World Air Quality Index" project (http://aqicn.org/map/world/) is collecting and displaying information from around the world in real time. They are also considering archiving that information for retrospective analyses.
Global data coverage is critical because 4 of 5 cities that report monitored air pollution exceed the WHO limits (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2016/air-pollution-rising/en/).
What about those cities that aren't reporting?
Good article and interview.
Robert Nedbor-Gross received the Axel Henderson award and Colleen Baublitz received the Clair Fancy award from the Florida Chapter of the Air & Waste Management Association (AWMA). Each provides recognition and a financial award for a qualified student member to encourage careers relating to the fields of air pollution control and waste management. The award is based on student's scholastic achievement, research, contributions to AWMA, and career potential.
Robert is a PhD student and Colleen is a master's student, and they are both advised and mentored by Dr. Barron H. Henderson, an Assistant Professor in the Environment Engineering Sciences department.
Colleen Baublitz, a thesis-track master's student in the Air Quality and Climate research, won first place in the Florida Air & Waste Management Association Conference Student Poster Competition on October 28, 2015. She presented preliminary results for our evaluation of the ecological impacts of climate policy that promotes biofuel use. While biofuels are carbon neutral and often thought to be sustainable for that reason, it's been shown that the fertilizer required to produce biofuels (especially in the case of corn in the United States) emits several reactive nitrogen compounds that can negate their climate benefit and deteriorate sensitive ecosystems via deposition. This project aims to provide insight into enhanced climate policy by comparing impacts as they are distributed through space and time, made possible with the GEOS-Chem adjoint. We look forward to new findings from this project and to more feedback from regulators, professionals and the community at large as we continue to circulate our results.
Just finished speaking at the Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia about the role of scientists and engineers in environmental regulation and licensing. This is the most twitter activity I've had... ever.
We recently published a paper testing the connection between gestational diabetes and air pollution. This population-based study suggests that exposure to air pollution during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of gestational diabetes mellitus in Florida, USA.
In this paper, we explore how changes in NOx-lifetime changes radiative forcing.
In August, I was invited to speak at the Colombian Congress and International Conference on Air Quality and Public Health (CASAP 2015). It was a great conference with speakers from around the world focusing on topics ranging from social components of change, regulation, indoor exposure, outdoor exposure, and toxicity. It was held in Bucaramanga Colombia and our hosts at Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana were fantastic. They brought in professional singers and dancers to give us a flavor of the local culture. It was a great experience and made me even more passionate about helping to improve the air in South America.
My name is Colleen, and I'm an undergraduate senior in EES. I work for Dr. Henderson in air quality modeling research, and as a result, I had the opportunity to spend last summer working in Bogotá, Colombia. The city is implementing regulatory reforms to curb air pollution, especially particulate matter from mobile and industrial sources. Our research team is collaborating with the local Universidad de la Salle to implement modeling for the benefit of more effective regulations.
Thanks to my research group and funding from the city's environmental regulatory agency, I was able to spend time abroad before my last semester, which would be a life-changing experience for any student. I lived with a student at La Salle and her family members, and they helped me to see what life is like for citizens of bustling Bogotá. I improved my ability to speak Spanish to near-fluency, but best of all, I was able to sightsee in several parts of the country, including the beautiful coffee-growing region.
My time spent researching air quality modeling in an area with a need for reform was fulfilling and inspiring. It showed me how important it is that we find solutions to poor air quality for every part of the world, and it reinforced my desire to make a difference in the field of atmospheric sciences after I graduate. I will always be thankful to my research group for this unique and exciting opportunity.