“This project extends my prior work in urban climates and lightning. It greatly expands on this prior research through the development of mixed-method typologies used as a framework for explaining urban lightning distributions as well as in the incorporation of multiple study locations spanning the United States. An emerging area of inquiry I am currently engaged is through International outreach, especially in urban climate impacts surrounding Asian megacities. This research would provide a theoretical framework to continue exploring the relationships between thermodynamics/winds/aerosols on urban thunderstorm environments across Asia and elsewhere.” Dr. Bentley
My name is Hayden Abbott and I am a senior Integrated Science and Technology major with a concentration in environmental sustainability. What first drew me to this project was the cross-disciplinary team that is on this project. I wanted to work in an environment where I was surrounded by people with differing interests, backgrounds, and majors to gain new perspectives and skill sets that are different from mine. Currently, one of my biggest interests is climate modeling, but I have other interests in marine life, climate change, natural resource management, and data visualization. I am very excited to see what this next year holds as the research we will be doing is very applicable to cities across the nation, and I hope we can garner a better understanding of how urbanization affects the climate.
Dr. Tobias Gerken is a broadly trained environmental and atmospheric scientist teaching courses about environmental science and sustainability as part of the Integrated Science and Technology major. Topics include climate change, air and water pollution, ecological processes as well as global ecosystem change.
His research focuses on land-atmosphere interactions. He is particularly interested in the surface flux dynamics of water, energy, and trace gases between ecosystems and atmosphere and their impacts on weather and climate.
He has also investigated the role of agricultural land management in the Northern Great Plains on rainfall and the role of feedbacks between land and atmosphere for the rapid development of drought.
Tobias Gerken has conducted field research in the Brazilian Amazon and on the Tibetan Plateau to better understand the exchange of energy, water, and carbon dioxide between ecosystems and atmosphere and how this may be affected by environmental change and human activities.
He earned a Diplom (BSc & MSc equivalent) in environmental science and a doctorate in environmental and atmospheric science at the University of Bayreuth in Germany. He formerly was an Assistant Research Professor at PennState’s Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science and a Research Associate at Montana State University’s Department of Land Resources and Environmental Science.
I am Hunter Donaldson, a senior Geographic Science major at JMU, with a concentration in Applied Geographic Information Science. I have always been intrigued by extreme weather and am thrilled to have the opportunity to combine that with my current undergraduate work. Along with this, I am very interested in long-term renewable energy solutions such as geothermal, as well as studying changes in physical geography across the globe. I hope to be able to apply the skills learned in this research experience after graduation, whether that be in a career or further education down the line.
“In prior work, I have worked on visualization of exposure to noise levels through raster representation, in order to convey variations of exposure at the local level. I have also focused on ways to map temporal variation, both in terms of exposure frequency and in the analysis of daily and weekly patterns. With this project’s focus on variations in lightning, I will be able to extend the use of visualization to other atmospheric phenomena. The project research will contribute to the development of a theoretical framework for which to address mapping of atmospheric conditions more broadly.” Dr. Bonsal
“This project provides an exciting opportunity to develop the important connections between environmental outcomes and my areas of concern: urban planning and sustainable design in the built environment. As well as helping trace the impacts of green urban design on atmospheric hazards in my work more generally, it will particularly generate cases of research to test hypotheses around land use planning forms and environmental impacts in a comparative urban geographical way. More specifically, this work will extend the interdisciplinary opportunities for team research that crosses application boundaries with my city planning roles, new classes and case studies for my sustainable urbanism teaching, enhanced scholarship and pedagogical engagements for the cross-disciplinary Urban and Regional Studies minor I coordinate, and the extension and deepening of the urban sustainability pathway I develop in the Geographic Science program at JMU. Future directions of inquiry developing this research include tracing similar mechanisms and connections in European cities – an additional international focus of my urban geographical work.” Dr. Way
Dr. Zhuojun Duan is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at James Madison University (JMU). Her primary research focuses on the Internet of Things, Data Analytics, and Computer Science Education. Dr. Duan has published 1 book chapter, 17 publications in journals and conferences, and served as a TPC member for many conferences, including IEEE GLOBECOM 2020, GCAIoT 2020, IEEE Blockchain 2019. She is the Lead Guest Editor of WCMC and DCN.
My name is Chelsea Lang and I’m a senior Integrated Science and Technology major with concentrations in Energy and Environment. I was drawn to the cross-disciplinary nature of this research project, specifically as it relates to both of my concentrations. I have always been passionate about climate change and the environment so being able to assist on a project that could further our knowledge of the way people and urban landscapes interact with weather patterns is interesting to me. I also really liked the diversity of the team members because I don’t have a lot of experience in computer science or geology-related topics, so I’m excited to learn a lot from them as well!
My name is Mia Pham and I am a junior Computer Science major and a Data Analytics minor from Chantilly, Virginia. I am also a student-athlete on the JMU Women’s Soccer team where I play outside defender. I am thrilled to be working on this inter-disciplinary team with other students and professors who have diverse academic backgrounds. I am passionate about using computer science and data analyzing techniques to systemically investigate and hopefully answer the challenges in our world today, which is why I am so excited to be a part of this research project. Prior to this project, I collaborated on another research project where we focused on studying the impact of mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein on the effectiveness of antibodies and vaccines. With this research opportunity I am looking forward to studying a topic that is so environmentally and climatically relevant in today’s communities and hope to gain more experience in applying computer science techniques to global issues.
I am Leah Wilzzynski, a Geographic Science major at JMU, and I am thrilled to be working with this team on research. I am currently minoring in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies, Environmental Management, and Data Analytics. I look forward to the experience of working on a research team as an undergraduate student, and I hope to apply concepts I’ve learned in classes at JMU. I have worked as a teaching assistant at JMU since my second semester here, and the work I’ve done with professors and students has helped prepare me for this opportunity. This summer, I am interning at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and I plan to use this research experience to prepare for the NOAA internship. Right now, my interests lie in sustainability, agriculture, climate change, coastline degradation, and the case study of Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay, which I travel to each semester. I find communication between scientific fields to be incredibly important, and this research offers the opportunity to collaborate with experts in multiple scientific fields and help inform the general public.. I am excited to participate in this hands-on research experience!
I am Andre Szakal, a Computer Science major and math minor from Leesburg, Virginia. I am excited to conduct this research on a team of academically diverse individuals. I’m interested in data analytics, as outcomes, like finding underlying patterns in complex data sets, that motivate my scientific endeavors. Additionally, I enjoy exploring a multitude of research areas. For example, I was an assistant researcher over the past summer analyzing the molecular structures of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein variants, where I coded clustering and pebble game algorithms. That experience honed my data analytic skills because I had to clean large data sets and write efficient processing algorithms, and challenged my ability to learn complicated topics like molecular biology. Moreover, being environmentally conscious is valuable to me, as my mother has been a local climate activist my whole life. Through this research experience, I hope to gain a better understanding of how I can use my computer skills to aid climate studies and improve the environmental outlook for all.
Livia Griffith is the Director of IT for the College of Integrated Science and Engineering. Livia has a Master’s Degree in Computer Science with a concentration in Information Security. Livia's primary interests lie in Linux Systems Administration and Virtualization. In a past endeavor Livia held the position of Systems Manager for the General Clinical Research Center at the VCU/MCV. In this role she worked with investigators on NIH grants focusing on graphical computing, database and statistical analysis. Livia has 20+ years of experience working in higher education and loves research and curriculum support.
My name is Allison Tucker and I am a Geographic Science major with a concentration in applied Geographic Information Systems and a minor in Environmental Information Systems. This research initially intrigued me through the multidisciplinary aspects we will study such as meteorology, environmental science, computer science, and more. Working alongside others who have specialized skill sets and knowledge will also be a valuable part of this research. I am looking forward to the data mining and visualization portion of this project to analyze and draw conclusions about a topic with little research.
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