Abstract: Air contaminants affect human health and climate, and a disproportionate fraction of adverse impacts are felt in under-resourced communities. The “Airborne Connections” Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site at Colorado State University provides summer training to address a hazard that affects all Americans and particularly disadvantaged communities: the release of airborne contaminants from energy use, industrial operations, and natural processes. This three-year REU site will recruit and train 30 diverse undergraduate students to measure, evaluate and understand where these contaminants come from, how they travel in the atmosphere, and the influences they have on human health and global climate. Students will gain technical skills in measurement or modeling. They will also interact with professionals in research, industry and government and among their own cohort to build an understanding of connections that create challenges and solutions. Recruitment efforts of students will prioritize first-generation and non-traditional students, and students from underrepresented groups.
The three-year “Airborne Connections” REU Site at Colorado State University will recruit and train 30 diverse undergraduate students in the skills, context and motivation to address air contaminants. The Site will focus on projects connected through a broad theme: the life cycle of atmospheric pollutants, beginning with their emission, followed by transport, spatial variation and characteristics, and quantifying their health and climate impact during their lifetimes. Specific objectives are: (1) Provide opportunities for a diverse cohort of undergraduate students to experience research, conceptualize complex human-natural interactions, and understand how focused research solves an interdisciplinary problem; (2) Foster skills required for success in STEM careers and graduate study through individual planning, mentoring, and professional development offerings; and (3) Systematize a recruitment program that facilitates participation of first-generation and non-traditional students in research. Students will participate in designing sensors and detection methods, developing remote sensing approaches, explaining variation in air concentrations, interpreting model output to assess health and climate impact, and developing protective strategies for buildings. Along with technical skills, students will learn about connections between contaminants, human health and the environment, disproportionate effects on low-income communities, and reduced resilience. Recruitment efforts of students will prioritize first-generation and non-traditional students, and students from underrepresented groups.
PI: Tami Bond, Ph.D.
PI Institution: Colorado State University
Source of Funding: NSF
Funding Program: REU
Award Amount: $407,212
Start Date: 04/01/2022
End Date: 03/31/2025
Link for more information: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=2150387&HistoricalAwards=false