Ph.D. Candidate in Earth and Environmental Engineering
M.S. in Earth and Environmental Engineering, 2015
BS in Civil Engineering, 2012
BA in Mathematics, 2012
This section is under construction
As an engineer and applied scientist, I aspire to identify lines of investigation that are both intellectually interesting and that will improve water and energy access and efficiency while limiting environmental degradation.
I combine my training in engineering, statistics, and climate science to research climate risk, water resources, and a 100% renewable electricity grid. I examine the long-term trends, variability, and predictability of environmental variables to answer questions like: How has the occurrence and intensity of extreme precipitation changed over time? How might the flood hazard change into the future in specific regions? How does the covariability of extreme temperatures and surface winds impact prospects for a 100% renewable electricity grid? How does antecedent precipitation impact the bacterial concentration of urban waterways?
I was first inspired to research issues related to natural disasters after seeing the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in the ninth ward in New Orleans. As the end of the 2010s draws nearer, risks from climate extremes are commanding increasing attention. The recent cluster of devastating tropical cyclones that hit Puerto Rico, Houston, and elsewhere have been a stark reminder of nature’s power, whether anthropogenic global warming is to blame for specific extreme events or not. And while floods like those recently in California continue to have catastrophic impacts on individuals, I am encouraged by the increasing attention being paid to improving the estimation and prediction of extreme climate events by the public and private sector alike. I hope to be a part of this tide.
Renewable energy is an exciting field because the goal is clear – moving away from fossil fuels and harnessing the sun, wind, and water to power our world. How we get there is less clear, but the challenge of figuring it out is stimulating and fulfilling. The rapidly falling costs of wind and solar power generation technologies are indicators that sharp increases in renewable electricity generation may be imminent (see page 10 of the report here). However, increased reliance on wind and solar electricity generation can complicate grid planning and operation due to the variability in space and time of near surface winds and solar radiation. One way to overcome this variability is by transmitting electricity over great distances and storing electricity with the goal of re-distributing electricity supply in space and time. Unfortunately, electricity storage remains expensive. There is still a great need to develop management solutions to address the challenges that come with a future of more dependence on renewable resources like solar and wind power generation.