2018-2019 GCSC Fellows

Katherine bui, environmental humanities

After receiving a B.S. in environmental science from the University of Texas at Austin, I am now pursuing an M.S. in environmental humanities at the University of Utah with Brett Clark and Jeffrey McCarthy as advisors. Some of my interests include sustainable food systems, paleoenvironmental change, and diversity, equity, and inclusion within the conservation field. I hope to combine my science background with the humanities to create a holistic narrative to educate and stimulate people to care for our natural world.

stephen cavanaugh, department of civil & environmental engineering

I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from West Virginia University in 2017. During my time at WVU I kept myself busy by working on projects like the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, working as a NASA undergraduate research fellow, and leading zip line tours at WVU’s Canopy Tour.

I will be working with Dr. Jennifer Weidhaas in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department. My primary research focus will be in the area of wastewater, water resources, and pathogenesis. I am currently working on microbial source tracking using ArcGIS and investigating the behavioral impact of specific nanomaterials on motile bacteria.

Rebecca HardenbrookRebecca Hardenbrook, Department of mathematics

While completing my Bachelors of Science in Mathematics at the University of Utah, I became concerned with how climate change is, and will be, affecting our planet. I knew that I loved mathematics, but that I also wanted to contribute in some way to understanding the consequences of global warming and their effects on the environment. In my junior year, I began working with Dr. Ken Golden and his group on a project pertaining to convection-enhanced thermal transport in sea ice.

For my Ph.D. in applied mathematics, I will continue working with Dr. Ken Golden on various mathematical projects relating to sea ice. Currently, I am interested in studying two different projects: the study of the spectral theory of homogenization for transport in composite media from the perspective of random matrix theory and the development of more efficient deep convolutional neural networks in order to better detect and predict extreme weather events. In general, my research interests lie in applications for the studies of partial differential equations, spectral theory, and optimization methods.

mikala jordan, Department of city & metropolitan planning

Growing up in Maine, I developed a love for the outdoors and an interest in the environment.  I pursued these interests academically, and in 2018 I completed my B.S. in Environmental Science and Geography from Villanova University in Pennsylvania.  At the University of Utah, I will pursue a Master’s in City and Metropolitan Planning.  With Dr. Danya Rumore¹s guidance, I will investigate the relationship between land use management decisions and the livability, sustainability, and resiliency of gateway and natural amenity communities.

junsik Kim, Department of city & metropolitan planning

II was born in Seoul, South Korea. I obtained my bachelor¹s in Landscape Architecture from Kyungpook National University and my master¹s from Seoul National University, South Korea. Following graduation, I worked at SNU¹s Research Institute of Agriculture and Life Sciences for a year and a half to create sustainable urban environments and reduce the impact of climate change on health outcomes. After then, I worked as a researcher at the National Institute of Biological Resources under South Korea¹s Ministry of Environment, where I used GIS to conduct environmental analysis.

At the University of Utah, I will be working under the direction of Dr. Reid Ewing in the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning. I am interested in analyzing pedestrian environments and developing an analysis of cities to maximize the effects of transit-oriented development (TOD). As a Ph.D. researcher, I will seek strategies to solve various microclimate issues in urban areas, find the optimal form of the urban morphology and green infrastructure, and minimize any negative impacts of using TOD in sustainable urban development

raul ochoa, Department of GEOLOGY & GEOPHYSICS

Originally from west Texas, I received my Bachelors of Science from the University of Texas in El Paso and my Masters from Purdue University with a focus in geology and expertise sedimentology. After my Masters I worked in the oil and gas industry for five years as an unconventional petroleum geologist in appraisal and development.

At the University of Utah I will be working with Dr. Lauren Birgenheier. I will be pursuing my PhD in Geology with my research focusing on sequence stratigraphy and understanding the mechanics of unconventional reservoirs and how they pertain to addressing energy issues in relation to oil exploration. As we see the effects of global change and the continued necessity for natural resources, understanding the effects of such a key component of our lives and knowing how to mitigate requires a host of members from the scientific community to minimize the risks and operate safely.

Daniel QuintanillaDaniel Quintanilla, Department of Geography

I was born to a military family and moved around a lot before I settled on doing my undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in history. After completing my degree, I was a GIS intern at El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association. From that internship I gained practical skill using GIS for analysis. I pursued my MA at the University of Missouri at Columbia (MIZ-ZOU) in geography along with a Geospatial Intelligence Certificat from the USGIF. During the summer of 2017, I was an imagery analyst intern for a government agency in Washington D.C.

I am currently pursuing a PhD in geography at the University of Utah. Under Dr. Rich Medina’s guidance I will look at the relationship between sustainability and extremism reduction. Currently I am working on a project looking at suicide rates within the Salt Lake City area and criminal activity within the Los Angels are.  My other research interests include human, drug, and weapons trafficking, terrorism activities, remote sensing, geospatial intelligence, and GIS systems.

Dustin Roten, department of atmospheric science

I am a first generation college student who grew up in western North Carolina, the heart of the Appalachian Mountains.  I graduated with a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from Appalachian State University (Go ‘Neers!) where I worked as a research assistant in an Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) Physics laboratory. In this lab, much of my work was in plasma diagnostics. After the completion of my undergraduate degree, I spent a year as a math teacher at Ashe County High School and adjunct physics instructor at Wilkes Community College. I then returned to App State to complete my M.S. in Engineering Physics and M.A. in Mathematics. During this time, I worked in a research group that sought to understand the characteristics of large point sources (power plants) and their roles in CO2 emission inventories as well as emission allocation methodologies.

Now pursuing a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences, my current work is with Dr. John Lin, where I will be using ground-based and satellite-based measurements of atmospheric CO2 over urban areas to better understand the role that these areas play in land-atmosphere interactions. More broadly, I am also interested in the intersection of science, science policy, and society with regards to climate change and STEM education.

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