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Meet PEI and Grand Challenges Past Interns: 2015

Alternative Energy

Melina Acevedo ‘16
Chemistry
This summer I conducted research in the Koel lab of the Princeton CBE department. The purpose of my research was to synthesize and characterize copper nanowires for alkaline water splitting. I used scanning electron microscopy to characterize my nanowires, and cyclic voltammetry and polarization curves to assess their activity for the hydrogen evolution reaction. read more >>



Emily Ho ‘18
Undecided
I worked as a research intern for Dr. Sam Cohen at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), which is dedicated to achieving fusion as an economical and clean alternative energy source. Dr. Cohen is focused on a type of reactor called the Princeton Field-Reversed Configuration (PFRC-2) because he believes that small reactors are the safest, most sensible means to that end. read more >>



Sally Jiao ‘18
Chemical & Biological Engineering
In organic semiconductors, charge is transported from molecule to molecule along conjugated backbones. Understanding how various factors affect the arrangement of these molecules (i.e. how they crystallize) can help us build more efficient organic electronic devices. To that end, I researched the thin-film crystallization of TES-ADT (triethylsilylethynyl anthradithiophene), an organic semiconductor. read more >>



Anid Laoui ‘18
Operations Research and Financial Engineering
The environmental impact of our current carbon-based economy is quickly becoming unsustainable. As governments and companies alike look to alternatives, it is apparent that battery technology will be an integral part of future energy consumption. This summer I had the chance to work at Lightening Energy, a government-contracted company looking at the future of the battery. read more >>



Weimen Li ‘17
Electrical Engineering
My internship at Lightening Energy centered on envisioning and developing different technologies that utilize renewable energy sources. I worked on three different projects during my time there. The first project focused on the RCube, an autonomous energy storage and microgeneration platform that would allow residential customers and small businesses to generate and store renewable energy. read more >>



Guanghao (Jackey) Liu ‘18
Operations Research and Financial Engineering
This summer I worked as an intern at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) on a computational project for the Clean Small Fusion Reactor project under Dr. Sam Cohen, which involved simulating the fusion reactor and experimenting with the simulation. The goal of my project was to implement and observe a new type of heating called “autoresonant heating” which Dr. Cohen predicts could be developed as an alternative or supplemental heating source. read more >>



Bizuwork Melesse ‘16
Chemistry
My summer internship in Professor Craig Arnold’s lab consisted of working with beyond-lithium battery solutions, specifically, magnesium ion batteries. A promising alternative to lithium ion batteries, magnesium ion batteries provide a safer yet cost-effective means of energy storage. However, the full potential of such battery systems is yet to be realized because of the lack of a combination of robust electrolyte and cathode materials. read more >>



Kevin Pardinas ‘16
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
I performed research this summer on the properties of microdischarges in carbon dioxide gas, a field that has numerous real-world applications including carbon dioxide mitigation, carbon material synthesis, and reforming of methane to produce synthesis gas, a valuable resource. A microhollow cathode design was utilized to confine the microplasma, and the surface deposition upon a nickel substrate was investigated. read more >>



Jacob Pearcy ‘18
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Over the summer, I assisted in performing diagnostics and expanding theoretical explanations regarding X-ray emission from the Princeton Field-Reversed Configuration 2 (PFRC-2) device. Through a combination of data gathering, data analysis, simulation, and theoretical calculations I helped the research team gain a fuller understanding of the characteristics and some possible causes of unexpectedly high X-ray emission. read more >>



Uriel Tayvah ‘17
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Over the summer, I assisted in performing diagnostics and expanding theoretical explanations regarding X-ray emission from the Princeton Field-Reversed Configuration 2 (PFRC-2) device. Through a combination of data gathering, data analysis, simulation, and theoretical calculations I helped the research team gain a fuller understanding of the characteristics and some possible causes of unexpectedly high X-ray emission. read more >>



Amy Tian ‘17
Operations Research and Financial Engineering
Lightening Energy, primarily contracted by the military, was working on preliminary development of some commercial products. During my internship, I worked on two of these commercial products: an autonomous source of energy storage and microgeneration that supports home automation (RCube), and headwear that detects concussions, tracks fitness data, and serves as a platform for other sports-related ancillaries (Athleticap). read more >>


Biodiversity and Conservation

William Atkinson ‘18
Geosciences
My summer fieldwork took place in Costa Rica’s Área de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG), the world’s largest tropical forest restoration project. The ACG boasts a rich symphony of animal calls, but the “musicians” of this orchestra are often unknown, especially orthopterans—a group of calling insects that includes crickets and katydids. Working with graduate student Tim Treuer, I hoped to assess the biodiversity of orthopterans in the ACG by creating a “library” of different species and their calls. read more >>



Engineers Without Borders

Danielle Coates ‘18, Chemical Engineering
Roan Gideon ‘18, Undecided
Brendan Hung ‘17, Operations Research and Financial Engineering
Lucy Lin ‘18, Computer Science
Julia Ni ‘18, Operations Research and Financial Engineering
Cecilia Stoner ‘17, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

The Kenya team of the Princeton University Chapter of Engineers Without Borders is working on providing clean, accessible drinking water to different communities in Kuria West. To date, our team has designed and built two 60,000L rainwater catchment systems that harvest water in Muchebe. read more >>



MacKenzie Dooner ‘17
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
This summer, I worked with the Northern Kenya Conservation Clubs (NKCC) alongside Nancy Rubenstein of the Mpala Research Center. These after-school clubs run in 12 schools in the Laikipia district, with the aim of instilling students with ecological awareness through experiential learning. Over 300 primary and secondary school students participate in club activities and conservation projects. read more >>



Morgen Harvey ‘16
English
This summer I traveled to Kenya to work as an intern for a grazing project headed by Professor Rubenstein. This study focused on the effects of different grazing patterns on cattle health and vegetation. My job consisted mostly of fieldwork; I collected plant transect data in previously established plots of investigation and observed and recorded cattle and sheep bite step patterns and behavior. read more >>



Donald Martocello ‘18
Undecided
The Guanacaste Dry Forest Conservation Fund (GDFCF) is a private organization dedicated to studying and cataloging the rich biodiversity of invertebrates in the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG) in Costa Rica, an area it works to conserve for research, so that the scientific community can come closer to filling in the missing pages of our biodiversity library. For this project, I became a parataxonmist and helped the GDFCF collect various biological specimens, especially the rich diversity of caterpillars and their associated parasites. read more >>



Ryan O’Connell ‘17
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
This summer I had the opportunity to work on a research project at Mpala Research Centre in Kenya. This region is a semi-arid ecosystem that is home to many herbivores. The project that I worked on focused on the strategies that different plant species employ in order to defend themselves against herbivory. More specifically, we examined the abundance of physical defenses, such as thorns and spines, on plants of the same species that were found in different local environments. read more >>



Marcus Spiegel ‘17
Civil and Environmental Engineering
This summer, I began working on a project that uses multi-objective modeling techniques to seek scenarios for agricultural development in Zambia that simultaneously achieve production targets and minimize carbon, biodiversity, and economic cost constraints. We hope that our model can be used to identify key areas for land conversion and infrastructure development within Zambia. read more >>



Anjali Taneja ‘16
Geosciences
The International Climate Team within the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is working on informing the implementation of policies and markets for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). The economics behind deforestation are structured such that in terms of carbon content, living trees (carbon sinks) are worth more than dead ones. The REDD+ initiative lays the foundation for structuring policies to reduce deforestation on a country-specific basis. read more >>



Jane Urheim ‘17
Woodrow Wilson School
This summer, I worked for the Environmental Defense Fund on the Central Valley Habitat Exchange (Exchange), an initiative that is developing incentives for farmers and ranchers to conserve the habitat of at-risk species in the Central Valley of California. During the course of my internship, I did a mix of research and writing of outreach materials. I looked into how counties in the Central Valley meet mitigation requirements for threatened and endangered species. read more >>


Climate/Environmental Science

Vinicius Amaral ‘17
Civil and Environmental Engineering
While in Kenya, I worked on a project that involved using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to map vegetation patterns with high temporal and spatial resolution. In a broad perspective, this project helped examine how climate change and warming are affecting vegetation growth and variability in African drylands. These factors serve as an indication of water and nutrient availability, which are important ecohydrological factors. read more >>



Ejeong Baik ‘16
Civil and Environmental Engineering
This summer I worked as an energy intern at Climate Central, a non-partisan climate research and journalist organization. I worked closely with my adviser Dr. Eric Larson, a senior research engineer from the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, examining methane leakage from the natural gas system. Natural gas has garnered attention recently, hailed as the bridge fuel between coal and renewable energy sources. read more >>



Garrett Baird ‘17
Chemical Engineering
This summer I had the opportunity to study two nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria, Azotobacter Vinelandii and Azotobacter Chroococcum, and their response to trace elements such as Boron and Tungsten. I tracked the growth of the bacteria by measuring optical density. Additionally, I analyzed their siderophore production by running liquid chromatographymass spectrometry (LC-MS) samples to see which molecules the bacteria were producing in response to various concentrations of metals being added to their growth media. read more >>



Kate Begland ‘17
Geosciences
The goal of my summer project was to look at the effect of climate change on the depth of the mixed layer (the surface layer of the ocean which is well mixed due to winds), and to look at how this change could affect the amount of carbon that the ocean would take up. The broader aim of this research was to continue trying to understand the consequences of anthropogenic climate change. read more >>



Catherine Blume ‘18
Physics
The Mapping Princeton Project aims to create a collection of Princeton-related maps for eventual publication in a Princeton “atlas” of sorts. These maps relate to spatial topics in three rough categories: campus history, sustainability and environment, and people. The history section details the spread of Princeton’s campus footprint. Included are campus maps from 1802, 1868, 1900, 1955, and 2000. The sustainability section maps out subjects related to the campus sustainability initiative. read more >>



Ethan Campbell ‘16
Geosciences
I spent four weeks this summer aboard the South African research icebreaker S.A. Agulhas II, sailing from Cape Town to the Antarctic winter ice edge. In collaboration with recent graduate Preston Kemeny ’15 and a host of multinational oceanographers, I took part in sampling the frigid waters of the stormy Southern Ocean. We collected seawater from various depths and locations by lowering sampling bottles to the seafloor three miles below, and also filtered surface water continuously to collect particulate matter. read more >>



Eugene Cho ‘17
Chemical and Biological Engineering
Few attempts have been made to accurately quantify methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas (AOG) wells. Since the orders of magnitude of methane emissions vary so much from well to well, it is important to gain more insight into the dynamics of these emissions to effectively target the high emitting wells for immediate remediation efforts (i.e. proper plugging). Working with other interns, I took methane samples from AOG wells in western Pennsylvania. read more >>



Shanna Christian ‘16
Geosciences
Previous research on the project I worked on this summer indicates that abandoned oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania may be a significant source of methane emissions to the atmosphere. There are more than three million abandoned oil and gas wells that exist in the U.S. and no records of their methane emissions occur on any greenhouse gas inventory reports. Information on many of these abandoned wells is lost. read more >>



Alex Dominguez ‘16
Chemical and Biological Engineering
There are currently multiple hypotheses which explain the biological-physical mechanisms that lead to the onset of the spring phytoplankton bloom. New in situ bio-optical data from Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM) floats can provide insight into the mechanisms that trigger phytoplankton blooms in the spring. These floats take measurements of chlorophyll and other characteristics through depth and time. read more >>



Lena Dubitsky ‘18
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
This summer I conducted research on the accuracy of climate models, focusing on the soil decomposition cycle. Soil is a vital component of the carbon cycle, yet there are different proposed models of decomposition. I recreated the cascade soil carbon and nitrogen model in MATLAB in order to better understand how it worked. To attempt to improve the accuracy of soil models, I found decomposition values for a simplified carbon soil cycle that were based on field data. read more >>



Atleigh Forden ‘16
Geosciences
My internship with PEI this summer was an extremely important step in my academic journey here at Princeton. With this position, I was able to explore a new area of my department I had never considered, and along the way I was able to jump-start my thesis research a few months early. I also learned how satisfying it is to solve problems as a team. I worked very closely with a graduate student on her project. read more >>



Jeffrey Gleason ‘18
Computer Science
This summer I worked to help launch the Mapping Princeton project, a project with the long-term goal of creating a Princeton atlas, under the guidance of Catherine Riihimaki from the Council of Science and Technology. The goal of the atlas was not just to map locations, but also to focus on things like the campus’ physical evolution and changing demographics. Over the course of eight weeks, my co-intern and I put together a 30-page Princeton atlas divided into three sections: people, history, and the environment. read more >>



Christian Gray ‘17
Chemistry
This summer I had the opportunity to do field research on the fossils of two species of organisms, Namaclathus and Cloudina, in a remote section of the Canadian Rockies. These species formed reefs approximately 550 million years ago, right before and on the edge of the famous Cambrian explosion. While in the field, I took note of what was in the rock layers above and below our fossils, and then tried to determine and justify in what sort of habitat these ancient reefs could have developed. read more >>



Angeline Jacques ‘16
Architecture
My research was conducted primarily through the Princeton/University of São Paulo collaboration, which is a six-year long research partnership between the two universities focused on the utilization of rivers in urban areas. My project focused specifically on the history of the rivers and canals in São Paulo. I spoke with members of the Metropole Fluvial Research Group, whose goal is to restore the rivers for transportation of sewage, goods, and people. read more >>



Christianese Kaiser ‘17
Geosciences
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that is contributing to global warming and that needs to be monitored closely. Methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas (AOG) wells have a significant impact on the climate, yet have never been accounted for or analyzed in any environmental studies. The research team I worked with aims to characterize abandoned oil and gas wells to determine what qualities may help identify high emitting wells. read more >>



Justin Mehl ‘17
Chemical and Biological Engineering
This summer, I worked with the Myneni Research group on using iron oxides to adsorb arsenic from contaminated water. In countries and regions such as Bangladesh and Eastern Africa, arsenic contamination is a serious problem with no cost-effective solution. Studies have shown that iron oxide crystals can be used to adsorb arsenic from contaminated water. These filters have been used, but the commonly used substrates on which the crystals are grown, activated carbon or silica, are not widely available in areas afflicted by arsenic contamination. read more >>



Joshua Murray ‘18
Geosciences
The Columbia River Basalt Group is a collection of lava flows in the Pacific Northwest that formed mostly between 17 and 14 million years ago. The basalt flows themselves can be over a kilometer thick: smaller than the Deccan and Siberian Traps, which are often thought of as causes of mass-extinction events, but still significant enough to have influenced climate. By collecting samples of sediment that accumulate during hiatuses of volcanic activity throughout the stratigraphy our group hopes to date this volcanic event using uranium-lead geochronology on a high-precision mass spectrometer. read more >>



Aparna Raghu ‘18
Undecided
This summer I conducted research on how carbon compounds in Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM) interact with mineral surfaces. By understanding the chemical nature of mineral- DOM precipitates and comparing them to similar precipitates formed by photochemical reactions of DOM, we hope to understand how this precipitate formation allows for retention of carbon in natural systems. I began my research by conducting a literature review to learn more about the functional group chemistry of mineral-organic interactions. read more >>



Jaclyn Rambarran ‘16
Mechanical Engineering
This summer I began to model the carbon fluxes involved in the growth and harvesting of woody biomass in the Southeast, specifically in Mississippi and Alabama. This work is part of a larger project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy that seeks to assess the sustainability of a first-of-its-kind process that co-produces clean transportation fuels and electricity. This process results in low carbon emissions through the co-processing of biomass and coal, and the capturing of byproduct CO+ for underground storage. read more >>



Joseph Redmond ‘18
Chemical & Biological Engineering
I worked at the Abisko Research Station nestled next to Abisko National Park above the arctic circle in Sweden with Paul Gauthier, PhD. For this project, my team went out every day into the forest to gather data from the local white birches. We were looking to uncover the metabolic process behind arctic plants which experience 24 hours of sunlight for weeks at a time without rest. read more >>



Lauren Santi ‘17
Geosciences
This summer I worked with data from Argo profiling floats and from coupled climate models developed by the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton. The goal of the internship was to characterize the effects of global warming on ocean oxygen levels and to assess the ability of current models to correctly predict oxygen levels in the Southern Ocean, a region that is poorly understood when compared to other ocean regions. read more >>



Aaron Schwartz ‘17
Operations Research and Financial Engineering
Protecting our coastal areas is requiring increasing ingenuity, as rising sea levels and stronger storms are putting coasts around the world at higher risk. Traditional methods of coastal protection revolve around “grey” infrastructure, such as the construction of sea walls, groins, and breakwaters. However, coastal planners are beginning to place additional focus on the role that natural coastal infrastructure, such as coastal wetlands, reefs, mangrove forests, and barrier islands, plays in contributing to coastal protection. read more >>



Zoe Sims ‘17
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Coral reefs are under threat: rising temperatures, ocean acidification, and direct human impacts (such as nutrients from human waste) are major stressors for coral reef ecosystems. Understanding these stressors and how they combine is crucial to understanding the future of coral reefs and to creating successful strategies to protect them. This summer I studied the effects of Bermuda’s groundwater discharge, which is heavily impacted by human wastewater, on the island’s coral reefs. read more >>



Joanna Sobolewska ‘16
Woodrow Wilson School
The goal of my summer project was to determine whether relationships between fish and their environment break down due to climate change. I worked with Rebecca Asch, a postdoctoral fellow in the atmospheric and oceanic sciences department under Jorge Sarmiento. The way we worked to answer this question was through data analysis of CalCOFI data which was sourced off the coast of Southern California. We cleaned the data up in MATLAB and did some preliminary statistics and then used Generalized Additive Models in R to answer the question. read more >>



Sophia Su ‘17
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
This summer I worked with Dr. Bill Anderegg studying the effects of climate change on western U.S. forests in Cortez, Colorado. In the first experiment of the summer, we subjected the one seed juniper plant to a simulated drought environment by building transparent chambers around selected branches and artificially raising the temperature in the contained environment. In doing so, we were trying to understand the effects of a short-term heat shock and how quickly the juniper plant responds to and recovers from such an event. read more >>



Kellie Swadba ‘17
Geosciences
This summer I assisted a geoscience professor and his graduate student with a project involving simulation of cloud coverage over a deforested region of the Amazon Rainforest. Studies from the 1990’s reveal uniform cloud coverage over Rondonia, Brazil. Since then, however, larger sections of forest have been cleared. The graduate student’s previous work had revealed that the newer intermediate-scale deforestation generated a distinct pattern of cloud formation during the dry season. read more >>



Adrian Tasistro-Hart ‘17
Geosciences
My summer research, which will form the foundation for my junior papers and senior thesis, centered on detecting long term (10,000-100,000 year) climate cyclicity in a late Cretaceous (65 million-year-old) lake in western Bolivia. These cycles, the same that paced the ice ages of the past several million years, are caused by periodic wobbles in Earth’s rotation and orbit around the sun. Because the late Cretaceous was marked by atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations more than double those of today. read more >>



Sarah Tian ‘18
Undecided
During my internship, I grew cultures of the cyanobacterium Anabaena variabilis in media containing either molybdenum, vanadium, or both. The purpose of this project was to analyze the metal intake by the cyanobacteria and to study possible uses for vanadium in cyanobacteria. I grew the bacteria under both nitrogen fixing and non-nitrogen fixing conditions to see whether or not vanadium was solely being used for this N-fixation process and to determine if the amount of metal taken in by the cells varied. read more >>



Olivia Trase ‘17
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
This summer I traveled to Abisko, Sweden for six weeks to help conduct research on plant respiration in arctic birches. The purpose of our research was to further explore inhibition of respiration of arctic birches in the light, which the Princeton research group last summer briefly explored. To collect data, we spent each day in an arctic birch forest with a Licor 6400 and a Licor 6400xt. read more >>



William Van Cleve ‘17
Geosciences
I spent the summer working as a field assistant to Ph.D. candidate Akshay Mehra in the Canadian Rockies. We studied 550-million-year-old reef systems, with a focus on a hardshelled tubular organism called Cloudina. Our goal was to recreate the environment in which these organisms lived, and understand how it shaped their development. We flew by helicopter to a remote field camp where we based our research. read more >>



Sunyoung Wang ‘16
Civil and Environmental Engineering
The aim of my research this summer was to characterize two phytoplankton species with respect to nitrogen uptake from ammonium and nitrate. Phytoplankton, the main photosynthesizers in the ocean, provide about half the oxygen in the atmosphere. Their physiology and response to environmental factors are usually studied in culture. But we now know that most of the important phytoplankton in the ocean are not represented in the culture collection nor in the genetic databases. read more >>



Amy Xie ‘17
Chemical Engineering
I spent my summer in Beijing working for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an international non-profit environmental advocacy group. Much of my summer work was focused on producing two reports. For my own Climate and Energy team, I researched feasible alternatives for HFC-134a, the most common vehicle air conditioner coolant found in cars today. The Montreal Protocol has mandated global HFC phasedown, as current HFCs are strong greenhouse gases with global warming potential values thousands of times higher than that of CO2. read more >>



Vivian Yao ‘17
Geosciences
As an undergraduate researcher stationed at Bermuda Institute of Oceanic Sciences (BIOS), I worked with 90 individual coral samples during an experiment on coral bleaching. Like all animals, corals become sick when they are stressed. The health of corals is rapidly declining in some areas of the world due to acidic waters created by increases in reef temperatures. Corals host photosynthetic algae zooxanthellae (zoox) that help them create proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to use. read more >>



Young (Paul) Yi ‘17
Geosciences
Mixing in the ocean can occur due to the winds and the tides, and it can influence how water circulates around the globe, affecting the ocean heat and carbon uptake as well as the sea level. The primary objective of my research project this summer was to conduct ocean model simulations of tidally-driven ocean mixing and to quantify the mixing’s dependence on the spatial location as well as the local topographical features. The spatial location and the topographical features were independently varied to study their effects on tidally-driven ocean mixing. read more >>



Jennifer Zhou ‘16
Woodrow Wilson School
As an intern in the Coral Reef Ecology and Optics Lab of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), my goal this summer was to further the development of the organization’s research within Bermuda’s mesophotic zone by exploring the abundance and distribution of lionfish, fisheries’ targeted fish, and the goldface toby. In order to assist marine spatial planning and species specific planning, my project was dedicated to modelling the potential effects and repercussions of the invasive lionfish. read more >>


Health

William Arendt ‘16
Civil and Environmental Engineering
During our summer internship, Jeffrey Chen and I conducted research in order to facilitate understanding of the existence of hazardous elements within fracking-produced waters. By conducting batch experiments with three different shales exposed to three different fluids, we simulated each step of the fracking process. Taking samples of each batch, we analyzed the fluid and determined in which conditions hazardous elements were most abundant. read more >>



Jeffrey Chen ‘17
Chemistry
This summer I interned with Dr. Jeff Fitts, a researcher in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department working on characterization of hazardous element mobilization in waste waters produced from shale operations. Fracking requires large quantities of water, and the waste water generated contains various hazardous elements that may severely impact local water sources. In this project, we performed batch experiments on shale samples from different rock formations under various solution environment conditions, focusing specifically on heavy metals. read more >>



Julie Chong ‘17
Civil and Environmental Engineering
This summer I researched the environmental impacts of fireproofing material in building construction. To maintain the integrity of a building and the safety of its occupants, steel beams and columns require a fireproofing barrier, because steel becomes malleable when subjected to the heat of a fire. ‘Prescriptive’ structural design calls for a standardized amount of fireproofing material for every beam and column. This approach, however, can lead to blind adherence to building codes and over-application. read more >>



Engineers Without Borders

Isabella Douglas ‘17, Civil and Environmental Engineering
William Guiracoche ‘17, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Corrie Kavanaugh ‘17, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Amanda Li ‘16, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Kasturi Shah ‘16, Physics
Joshua Umansky-Castro ‘17, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

The Princeton University Peru team of Engineers Without Borders has been working to provide water to the small rural village of La Pitajaya, Peru for the past five years. During our partnership with La Pitajaya, we have built two water pipelines; one in the upper part of the community, Alta, and one in the lower part of the community, Baja. read more >>



Lydon Kersting ‘18
Chemical and Biological Engineering
This summer I worked with a recently discovered form of solar material, perovskites. These solar cells can be fabricated more quickly, easily, and cheaply than most commercial solar products, and some have reached nearly 20% efficiency. However, perovskites are susceptible to rapid degradation, which releases lead ions. By experimenting on cells fabricated by the Lynn Loo Lab, I studied the cause and mechanism of perovskite breakdown under different conditions. read more >>


Technologies for Environmental Study

Hun Choi ‘17
Computer Science
The Mapping Africa project serves to provide a better understanding of the distribution of crop fields in Africa. The platform currently uses crowdsourcing to classify the crop fields in satellite images, which can be costly in terms of both money and time. The goal of my internship was to develop the proof-of-concept for a crop field mapping platform that combines the current crowdsourcing system and the advanced classification algorithm worked on by former graduate student Stephanie Debats to ultimately classify crop fields automatically and accurately. read more >>



Savannah Du ‘18
Operations Research and Financial Engineering
This summer I worked with RGB and near-infrared imagery collected by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The use of UAVs allows capture of high spatial and temporal resolution images, which can be used to monitor crop stress (in our case, fungi patches in southern New Jersey cranberry bogs). However, collected imagery is affected by particle interactions in the atmosphere. This atmospheric attenuation, in addition to other issues such as uneven illumination and changing camera angle, must be corrected when comparing images over time and different areas. read more >>



Stacey Huang ‘16
Electrical Engineering
My project this summer dealt with the design of a robust auto-focusing imaging system for a methane sensor to be deployed in the fall of 2015. The dynamics of methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas, are not well understood, but deciphering them is necessarily in order to properly regulate emissions. In the Princeton University Laser Sensing Lab, we built an improved sensor, which is based on a technology known as Chirped Laser Dispersion Spectroscopy (CLaDS). read more >>



Eric Principato‘16
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
This summer I worked in the field with drones and developed software to process imagery taken by the drones. Currently, satellite imagery is widely used in many fields including agriculture and ecology. Farmers can manage their crops, terrain topology can be analyzed, and protected areas can be monitored. The main drawbacks of using satellite imagery are that it is very expensive and highly susceptible to weather and cloud conditions. read more >>



Soumya Sudhakar ‘18
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Climate change is already affecting the reliability of crop yields worldwide. For farmers in Zambia, getting better forecasts of maize yields as early as possible is critical to livelihoods. These forecasts, however, currently rely on only a few weather stations for the entire country of Zambia. In an effort to improve upon this, Princeton Ecohydrology Lab is working to deploy many smaller, cheaper, cloud-connected “PulsePods,” which provide data for crop modeling, in the hope that the models will be able to better predict yield of a crop like maize in Zambia and in a changing climate. read more >>