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Meet PEI and Grand Challenges Past Interns: 2012

Lily Adler, 2015, Chemistry

Lily Adler, 2015

Project: Ice Sheet Variability 300 Million Years Ago as an Analog to Modern Climate Change
Organization/Location: Princeton Dept. of Geosciences, Princeton, NJ
Adviser: Adam Maloof, Associate Professor, Geosciences

The goal of my PEI summer internship was to study rocks and other geological features in order to understand the climate of Earth's ancient history and in turn, to better understand future climate change. By collecting and studying rocks that preserved oxygen isotopes deposited 300 million years ago, we can better understand the extent of global glaciation from that time period. As a part of this internship, I spent the summer hiking in Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. Not only did I get to see amazing parts of the American west, but I also learned how to collect data in the field. Having known nothing about geology, I learned a great deal about the basics of geology and began to make sense of the physical world around me. I learned how to see and identify fossils as well as many different types of rock formations. This internship expose me to not only geology, but also to a part of America that I had never seen before. While the internship did not necessarily persuade me to major in geology, it did show me that the more you know about the physical world, the more amazing and beautiful it becomes.


Prakhar Agarwal, 2014, Operations Research and Financial Engineering

Prakhar Agarwal, 2014

Project: Potable Water for La Pitajaya, Peru
Organization/Location: Engineers Without Borders, Peru
Adviser: Peter Jaffe, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

The Peru team of the Princeton University Chapter of Engineers Without Borders is working on building a potable water system in the community of La Pitajaya, Peru. This involves building a number of parts including a reservoir, spring box, piping system and tapstands. This summer, we completed phase one of this system implementation. We physically labored alongside the community, digging trenches for the piping and pouring concrete. We also worked to strengthen community relations, both through a number of talks with the children and women in the community, and through building local NGO relationships. We also laid the groundwork to complete the system this coming summer and conducted an assessment for a similar system in another part of the community. This trip was a great opportunity to learn about the challenges associated with international development. I learned the importance of being flexible and working with the community through the process. I also learned how I could apply my engineering skills outside of the classroom and, specifically, to development initiatives.


Priscilla Agyapong, 2015, Undeclared

Priscilla Agyapong, 2015

Project: Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, South Africa
Organization/Location: Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre, South Africa
Adviser: Zia Mian, Research Scientist, Woodrow Wilson School and the Program on Science and Global Security

In South Africa, NGOs like the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation are the primary undertakers of community building efforts, including the fight against HIV. I worked mainly as an educator in the computer lab of the DTHF Youth Centre in Masiphumelele. My internship was very open-ended; I was given leeway to develop and introduce a variety of activities from college application sessions to one-on-one computer skills development. I also served as a research assistant in a study on informed consent in HIV vaccine trials participation. The study assessed how teenagers aged 15-17 responded to different methods of information regarding their participation in vaccine trials. In an ideal world, such NGOs would be the best agents of change as they are in touch with the grassroots and can more easily identify problematic issues and contextualized solutions. But with issues of funding, lack of community involvement, and the slow pace of change implementation in such places, I learned firsthand the challenges involved in making a measurable difference in people’s lives. My internship solidified my career and academic interests in public policy in the developing world and steered me towards a more governmental approach towards sustainable health solutions, while maintaining a ground level connection.


Vincent Bai, 2014, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Vincent Bai, 2014

Project: Development of Flow Through Electrodes for Vanadium Flow Batteries
Organization/Location
: Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Jay Benziger, Professor Chemical and Biological Engineering

I worked with the Benziger Reaction Engineering Group to study flow regimes through electrodes of vanadium redox flow batteries (VRBs). VRBs are being researched as potential energy storage systems that can reduce the negative effects of surges in consumption and/or production when variable energy resources such as solar and wind are used. The goal of my project was to modify the standard diffusive flow regime used in most VRB designs to allow for convection of the electrolyte within the reaction chamber. We wanted to see if the modified design would increase battery efficiency and power output. Since this project was new to my research group, I was able to experience firsthand the amount of work necessary to start up a project. I spent part of my summer designing and constructing the batteries and gained valuable insight into the process of selecting and acquiring materials. By the end of the summer, we had promising data that demonstrated that the modified convective flow regime was more efficient. This internship solidified my desire to work in the energy industry, and I plan to continue working on this project during the school year.


Devika Balachandran, 2014, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Balachandran Devika

Project: Cap and Trade Policy and Coastal Preservation in Louisiana
Organization/Location:
Louisiana Department of Justice, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Adviser: Ryan Seidemann, Louisiana Department of Justice

I spent my summer researching the evolution and performance of domestic voluntary carbon markets and examining the regulatory framework of California’s Cap-and-Trade program. I worked with members of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, which is currently in the process of creating wetlands to sell as carbon offsets because of their biosequestration properties. Upon researching literature from scientific journals, legal journals, legal reviews, and corporate reports, I wrote a 40-page paper detailing my findings to present to the Department of Justice. Essentially I found that voluntary markets do not currently have sufficient demand to keep the markets afloat (the collapse of the Chicago Climate Exchange is a good example), but there are a number of initiatives cropping up all over the country that intend to create demand for carbon offsets due to imposing regulatory constraints.


Nisha Bhat, 2014, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Nisha Bhat, 2014

Project: Oxford University Clinical Research Unit: Vietnam /Nepal Typhoid
Organization/Location:
Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU), Nepal
Adviser: Bryan Grenfell, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Woodrow Wilson School

This summer I spent two months in Nepal working for the OUCRU based at the Patan Hospital in Kathmandu. I assisted with studies on enteric fever, which is endemic in Nepal. The primary project I worked on sought to determine whether typhoid carrier screening could be accurately conducted by collecting saliva samples, as opposed to the commonly used blood or bile samples. I also assisted with a study evaluating the hospital's current antibiotic resistance testing method, which is used to determine whether a particular strain of bacteria is susceptible to specific antibiotics. My internship involved quite a bit of lab work related to infectious disease - collecting, storing and culturing samples as well as performing basic tests for resistance - which I had not been exposed to before. After samples were collected, I also assisted with data management. I was able to attend talks and lectures in the hospital on infectious disease-related issues throughout the internship. In addition to learning a lot about the biology of infectious diseases, I learned microbiological techniques, which will be useful when I conduct independent research later on.


Joshua Bocarsly, 2015, Chemistry

Joshua Bocarsly, 2015

Project: Atmospheric Deposition in the Open Ocean
Organization/Location:
Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, Bermuda
Adviser: Natasha McDonald, BIOS

The organic molecules dissolved in ocean water shape and regulate the quantity and quality of light available to organisms beneath the ocean surface. In coastal waters, most of this chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) can be easily traced to nearby rivers. In contrast, the source, nature, fate, and composition of open ocean CDOM are largely unknown. I spent this summer investigating the hypothesis that atmospheric deposition is the major source of open ocean surface water CDOM. This investigation was carried out as part of the Bermuda Bio Optics Project, an ongoing study at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS). Using air and water samples I collected from the Sargasso Sea during two week-long cruises, I was able to provide the first convincing demonstration that atmospheric deposition is responsible for a significant portion of open ocean CDOM. This internship was a whirlwind of new experiences: I spent time in the middle of the ocean, used analytical chemistry techniques I previously did not know existed, and learned from many highly respected ocean scientists. These experiences have strengthened my interest in chemistry and opened me up to opportunities in the field that I never before considered.


Kathleen Brite, 2013, Politics

Kathleen Brite, 2013

Project: Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation
Organization/Location:
Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, South Africa
Adviser: Zia Mian, Research Scientist, Woodrow Wilson School and the Program on Science and Global Security

The overall goal of my project with the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation was to produce a history of its ground-breaking mobile testing unit, the Tutu Tester. This history was to be published and used in reviving HIV/AIDS awareness and reducing stigma, re-conceptualizing HIV as preventable, manageable, and part of comprehensive wellness. The history would also assess what has been accomplished in the field of HIV in South Africa, what is being done currently, and what is needed going forward. In addition to working daily in the townships doing biometric registration on the Tester, I conducted extensive interviews with the directors, general staff, crew, and clients of the Tutu Tester and worked through their documented history. From this experience, I gained valuable insight into the eradication of HIV as a cultural, social, and even psychological phenomenon, the value of research in impacting policy change, the importance of access to information for the general public, and the astounding capabilities of one team of hard-working, dedicated individuals. This internship has served as the springboard for many of my pursuits, including my independent work and possible graduate study in international public health.


Nicole Businelli, 2013, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Nicole Businelli, 2013

Project: Potable Water for La Pitajaya
Organization/Location:
Engineers Without Borders, Peru
Adviser: Peter Jaffe, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Engineers Without Borders (EWB)-Princeton Peru travelled to Samne this summer with the goal of constructing the first phase of a potable water system for the settlement of La Pitajaya. Our group assisted in coordinating meetings with the water committee, digging trenches for the piping network, purchasing materials, arranging transportation, hiring a mason, working with local NGOs, and compiling technical data for assessment of future phases of the community water system. We also helped educate the local women and school children about the water system design and proper water usage and hygiene. By the end of the trip, the EWB-Princeton team had successfully prepared the reservoir site and platform and constructed the spring box and structure at the water source. Our experiences in Peru underscored the difficulties, both physical and administrative, of doing international development work. Although nearly every department in the Engineering School was represented on the travel team, each student shared an interest in development work and hopes to apply these skills and lessons learned to the EWB-Peru project on campus. Beyond that, this trip has inspired some team members to consider joining the Peace Corps or other development opportunities post-graduation. I am now personally interested in pursuing a career in energy policy.


David Byler, 2014, Operations Research and Financial Engineering

David Byler, 2014

Project: Predicting Fishery Collapses from Climatic Variability
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Jorge Sarmiento, Professor, Geosciences

My project was titled “Predicting Fishery Collapses from Environmental Variability.” The challenge posed by this internship was to use data on environmental variability to predict when fish populations will experience large, sudden declines, how large those declines will be and other aspects of fishery collapse. After I spent some time learning about the existing work on fishery collapses, Malin (my postdoc-mentor) and I worked on finding meaningful ways to measure environmental variability and variability in fish population. From there, we used various mathematical and statistical tools to analyze the data and come up with conclusions. We found some significant connections between environmental variability and fishery collapse, and we’re now working together through my independent work to investigate those connections, and to integrate our findings into broader models for predicting various aspects of fishery collapses. This internship taught me how to perform real research that I had yet to experience in my classes--how to frame a problem in a meaningful way against existing literature and how to deal with quantitative and conceptual problems. Fishery collapse is an interesting and important problem; I look forward to continuing my work with Malin, and to writing a junior paper that builds off my summer internship research.


Regina Cai, 2015, Operations Research and Financial Engineering

Regina Cai, 2015

Project: Modeling Wind Speed Distributions
Organization/Location:
North China Electric Power University, China
Advisers: Eric Larson, Research Engineer, Princeton Environmental Institute. Lecturer in Chemical and Biological Engineering; Liu Yongqian, North China Electric Power

In Beijing this summer, I sought to gain a holistic understanding of China’s energy production and consumption from an academic viewpoint. I mapped out two mathematics- and statistics-based projects, while networking and leveraging my work to seek out opportunities at Tsinghua University that would allow me to explore and pursue my academic interests in applied mathematics and economics. In one project, I devised multiple potential goodness-of-fit tests as variations on the least-squares method of curve fitting. While I recognized some limitations of my math and statistical skills, my interest in these subjects led me to learn about machine learning and MATLAB. I then incorporated my new knowledge and skills into my tests. I also analyzed supercycles in commodity prices, developing my economic research skills by finding relevant data online and putting it in the context of literature from textbooks and journals. I juxtaposed papers from academic and financial institutions to create a project plan with potential for future work at Princeton. Overall, I challenged myself by asking difficult questions, sifting through relevant resources, and finding new ways to tie ideas together.


Kathleen Cavanagh, 2014, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Kathleen Cavanagh, 2014

Project: Exploration of Dynamic Stall on Tubercled Airfoils
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Alexander Smits, Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

This summer, I worked in Professor Smits' lab in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department studying Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT), which offer a promising alternative to the more commonly seen Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine (HAWT). Unfortunately VAWTs currently have a lower coefficient of power than HAWTs, meaning that VAWTs are less efficient at collecting the energy in the wind and turning it into electricity. This efficiency may be increased by reducing the dynamic stall on the VAWT’s blades. My research involved designing and building an apparatus to mimic the path of a blade in a VAWT. The blade within this apparatus is interchangeable, allowing for various blade geometries’ dynamic stall reductions to be tested. From these tests, a new blade geometry could be suggested to reduce the dynamic stall on VAWTs and improve their performance in order to make them a more viable source of renewable energy. This experience allowed me to see the practical applications of the theory I had learned within my classes. I learned about computer modeling and was exposed to the manufacturing process, which allowed me to take an idea from the conceptual to the physical realm.


Henry Chai, 2014, Operations Research and Financial Engineering

Henry Chai, 2014

Project: SMART-ISO: An Intelligent Simulator for the PJM Power Grid
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Warren Powell, Professor, Operations Research and Financial Engineering

For my summer internship working in the Princeton Laboratory for Energy Systems Analysis (PENSA), I researched the functioning of the Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey Interconnection portion of the electricity grid (known as PJM interconnect). More specifically, I mined and processed data concerning the generation of and demand for electricity along the interconnect. I performed extensive time series/regression analysis on the mined data and used machine learning tools to fill in gaps within the data. Through my research I learned about the coding language SQL as well as the general structure of the PJM interconnect. I also learned more generally about approximate dynamic programming techniques and electricity markets along the east coast. My work is relevant to PEI in that the research I did over the summer allowed the PENSA lab to run simulations on the entire grid, calculating local marginal prices of electricity. These simulations will also allow for exploration into the efficiency of certain operational plans of generation. More specifically, my intended future work in this area will explore the most efficient application of grid level storage throughout the PJM Interconnect.


Abraham Chaibi, 2014, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Abraham Chaibi, 2014

Organization/Location: Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, Princeton, New Jersey

My internship at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory involved the development of nuclear fusion as an alternative energy source. I worked with Dr.’s Goldston and Jaworski in two fields: modeling lithium flow in the plasma sheath of a tokomak, and designing the circuitry for a liquid lithium leak detector. By the end of the internship, I had completed the design and printed circuit board layout for the leak detector and had written an extensive report detailing the design process. This experience gave me the opportunity to develop my knowledge of programming numerical simulations in Matlab and to design and integrate complex electrical components effectively. Because of this summer research I will likely continue my study of nuclear fusion reactors through work at the Joint European Torus tokomak in the United Kingdom during my year abroad. I also hope to be able to combine this with my independent work and possibly continue working with PPPL for my senior thesis. The internship provided valuable insight into the independence required of graduate students and will definitely play a part in my post-graduation plans.


Priscella Chan, 2014, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Priscella Chan, 2014

Project: Oxford University Clinical Research Unit: Vietnam /Nepal Typhoid
Organization/Location:
Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Vietnam
Adviser: Bryan Grenfell, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Woodrow Wilson School

This summer I interned with the Oxford Clinical Research Unit, and worked on mapping the burden of typhoid fever, which is endemic in Southeast Asia. Not only do some patients die from complications of the disease, but since typhoid is treated with antimicrobials, patients must also face the challenges of increased drug resistance. This summer, I conducted literature research on the case fatality rates and drug resistance patterns of typhoid disease in a variety of countries in Southeast Asia. Since the majority of articles and trials detailing the incidence rates and antimicrobial resistance are rather outdated due to the quickly changing lifestyles and infrastructures of these typhoid-endemic countries, my work focused on gathering and summarizing data from the year 2000. A summary of the data I analyzed will be submitted to the World Health Organization for publishing. Thanks to this internship, I not only learned how typhoid fever can be eradicated, but I also gained insight into how a health system functions in underdeveloped countries like Vietnam. In the future, I hope to continue studying infectious diseases and their effect on specific populations.


Richard Cheng, 2015, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Richard Cheng, 2015

Project: Synthesis, Characterization, and Devices Performance of Organic Photovoltaics Nanoarrays
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Lynn Loo, Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering

My internship with the Loo Group exposed me to research in the field of organic photovoltaics (OPV) and gave me insight into today’s solar technology. I worked with Luisa Whittaker, a postdoc, growing nanowires using different organic materials, which are supposedly cheaper than the inorganic materials used in the solar industry today. My goal was to characterize these nanowires and control their growth using a method called Physical Vapor Transport (PVT). Once I was able to control the nanowire growth, I incorporated them into an OPV device. Today’s OPVs typically combine an electron donor material and an electron acceptor material to create a device. I grew my nanowires as electron acceptors, and matched them with different electron donor materials to make different solar cell devices. While working on this project, I learned a lot about the properties and behavior of organic materials, as well as the prospects for the field of organic electronics. I hope to work further with photovoltaics through independent work, studying inorganic materials as well as organics.


Matthew Chu Cheong, 2013, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Matthew Chu Cheong, 2013

Project: Innovative Fusion Confinement Concepts
Organization/Location:
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Samuel Cohen, Director, Program in Plasma Science and Technology

Fusion has often been considered the "holy grail" of alternative energy, In that it would provide large amounts of energy with minimal waste products. By utilizing a certain type of magnetic field, fusion reactors can be built on a smaller, easier-to-construct scale. This sort of field would allow for a simpler reactor, along with “closed” field lines that provide for superior containment. Combined with a rotating magnetic field, it is hoped that this would allow for temperatures better suited for fusion. My first project this summer was to model the trajectory of energetic, charged particles, in order to study potential energy extraction methods. For this, I studied numerical algorithms and programming techniques. The second project was to work with separate modeling software, in order to understand controllable parameters under which desirable fusion conditions could be achieved. Here, I had to further study thermodynamics, and learned to work in a Unix environment. I saw how important patience, perseverance, and humility can be if one wants to be a successful researcher. Additionally, I gained insight into what it means to study “physics.” I hope that I can continue researching and continue to learn from these experiences.


Tiffany Cheung, 2015, Molecular Biology

Tiffany Cheung, 2015

Project: Effect of High CO2 on Photosynthesis and Growth in Marine Phytoplankton
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Advisers: François Morel, Professor, Geosciences; Jodi Young, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Geosciences; Xan Yu, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Geosciences

Regardless of the cause of global warming, the related increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is not only affecting land life but also marine life, via alterations in the carbonate chemistry of seawater. This summer I conducted research at Princeton in a geoscience lab led by Francois Morel, studying the effects of high carbon dioxide on photosynthesis and growth in marine phytoplankton. I grew the diatom, Thalassiosira weissflogii, in artificial seawater at various carbon dioxide conditions and studied its effect on the physiology of this diatom. I harvested the samples prior to nutrient repletion and used spectrophotometry, western blotting, and radioactive carbon-14 to quantify various proteins and its activities. The data I obtained so far calls for further research; and I will continue my project this year. As a prospective molecular biology major, my internship with the Morel lab gave me the incredible opportunity to work alongside graduate students and postdoctoral research associates, allowing me to gain insights into scientific research. In addition to incorporating what I have learned in my general science classes into my own research, I learned how to successfully plan, execute, and analyze a scientific research project on my own.


Jonathan Choi, 2015, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Jonathan Choi, 2015

Project: Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and the Internet to Map Africa’s Farmland
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Advisers: Lyndon Estes, Associate Research Scholar, Woodrow Wilson School and the Program in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy; Lecturer, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Kelly Caylor, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

This summer I was fortunate to work in Dr. Kelly Caylor’s lab at Princeton University under Dr. Lyndon Estes. My internship revolved around a project utilizing Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk service to map cropland in South Africa. Much of my internship was spent investigating the mechanics of Google Maps and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, and creating preliminary support infrastructure for future stages of our project. I looked at the quality control methods that could be employed for the project, specifically examining data using the open-source programming language, R. I learned a lot about geospatial data analysis, the manipulation of data files in R, and about the research process in general. This internship has solidified my commitment to work in the field of environmental science and sustainable development in the future.


Jacqueline Chu, 2015, Undeclared

Jacqueline Chu, 2015

Project: Monitoring Antibiotics Use in Freshwater Aquaculture in Vietnam
Organization/Location:
Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Vietnam
Adviser: Bryan Grenfell, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Woodrow Wilson School

My internship at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit focused on analyzing and summarizing data gathered on antibiotic use and antibiotic knowledge by aquaculture farmers in Vietnam. The data I analyzed was obtained from a direct survey of farmers in Vietnam and from biological analysis of aquaculture products collected from local Vietnamese markets. This information is a vital step in creating strategies to tackle antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria. Since aquaculture products account for a large portion of the Vietnamese diet, aquaculture's use of antibiotics can have a large impact on Vietnamese health. After studying the data, I determined that economic incentives, such as higher sale prices for healthier-looking fish, are a major determinant of a farmer's choice to use antibiotics in his aquaculture. From this project, I was able to refine my technical writing ability, and, most importantly, I was exposed to the fields of clinical microbiology and infectious disease, which are now areas I wish to study further.


Margaret Cochrane, 2014, Anthropology

Margaret Cochrane, 2014, Anthropology

Project: Engaging Rural Communities in Providing Solutions to Environmental Problems and HIV/AIDS Education
Organization/Location:
Mwangaza Youth Group and Repacted Kenya, Kenya
Adviser: Mahiri Mwita, Lecturer, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies

The goal of our internship in Kenya was to learn extensively about community theater and how it can enact behavioral change in communities, specifically with concern to issues of safe water and sexual and environmental practices. We went through intensive workshops with the two youth groups with whom we were working in order to learn about the process of magnet theater and how they apply it to communities. We also did outreach, visiting many different communities and helping challenge and engage the community on issues like HIV and clean water. During the outreach we collected observational data such as the size of the audience and the responses of the participants. I learned much about magnet theater as a form of education, and on the health and environmental problems in Western Kenya. We hope that the outreach system we took part in will continue and successfully enact behavioral changes in rural communities. I definitely want to focus my studies on environmental issues in East Africa, and I plan on returning to work with these groups again.


Stephen Cognetta, 2015, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Stephen Cognetta, 2015

Project: Development of Quantum Cascade Lasers for Atmospheric Carbon Isotope Ratio Detection
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Adviser: Claire Gmachl, Professor, Electrical Engineering

This summer I interned at the Center for Mid-InfraRed Technologies for Health and the Environment (MIRTHE) in Princeton, where I worked with Professor Claire Gmachl and her team to identify characteristics about lasers. I helped with developing quantum cascade laser technology, specifically Distributed Feedback Quantum Cascade (DFB QC) lasers. DFB QC lasers offer a reliable and efficient way to sense gases such as carbon dioxide or water vapor. To ensure specified detection of these gases, however, QC lasers must exhibit single-mode behavior (which means that the lasers target a specific wavenumber in the mid-infrared spectrum). This allows the laser to be used for environmental applications, such as detecting leakage from carbon sequestration. We tested a number of different DFB QC lasers to determine the operating conditions under which they exhibited single-mode behavior (parameters such as current and temperature). Throughout my internship, I learned how to use the equipment in the lab. In particular, I focused on operating the LIV (Light, current, voltage) setup and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer, both were instrumental in characterizing lasers. The main portion of my research was directly involved with the graduate students and Professor Gmachl, which exposed me to both electrical engineering and the research field. I will definitely consider my experience when applying to graduate school.


Charlotte Conner, 2014, Geosciences

Charlotte Conner, 2014

Project: Low-Carbon Transportation Fuels and Electricity from Coal and Biomass
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Eric Larson, Research Engineer, Princeton Environmental Institute

This summer I was an intern for the Energy Systems Analysis Group (ESAG), a research unit of the Princeton Environmental Institute. I worked primarily on their project on possible energy conversion facilities that use the Fischer-Tropsch process to create synthetic fuel and electricity from coal and biomass. Fischer-Tropsch synthesis can be low-carbon, carbon-neutral, or even negative-carbon by adding biomass as a percentage of the inputs and/or by using carbon capture and sequestration technology. As an intern, I was charged with the upkeep of the master Excel spreadsheet that housed the cost components, emissions information, and fuel and electricity outputs of each hypothetical facility. I wrote and interpreted the Visual Basic code that was used to determine the economic properties of the facilities. I also used the Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation Model (GREET), created by the Argonne National Laboratory to update ESAG’s emissions data for different fuel creation and transportation scenarios. Not only did I learn a lot about synthetic fuel creation, I also improved my knowledge of Excel and programming skills. This internship increased my interest in the methods of making clean fossil fuels both environmentally and economically friendly.


Gavin Cook, 2015, East Asian Studies

Gavin Cook, 2015

Project: Environmental Policy-Making in China: Diesel, F-Gases, and Taxes
Organization/Location: Princeton in Asia – Natural Resources Defense Council, Beijing, China
Adviser: Alvin Lin, Natural Resources Defense Council

My goal as an intern this summer was to research and write papers on two issues to help the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) find funding for two major projects. The first project was the Dumping Dirty Diesels campaign, aimed at improving the quality of diesel around the world, and the second was an incipient project aimed at reducing the use of fluorinated gases. I wrote two papers and served as a translator for a member of the NRDC Washington office at a Montreal Protocol conference in Thailand. At the conference, I networked with Chinese members in the fluorinated gas industry. This experience improved my knowledge of policy, the Chinese language, and environmental issues. I practiced researching in a foreign language, which is essential to my major, and I was able to put my writing skills to use and support the work of an extremely influential NGO. I realized from this experience that I love working with the environment and simply will not be happy in a profession where I'm not constantly thinking about making the world a better place. Overall, the NRDC Beijing office is an incredible place full of amazing people. This was the best summer of my life!


Laura Cooper, 2015, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Laura Cooper, 2015

Project: Engaging Rural Communities in Providing Solutions to Environmental Problems and HIV/AIDS Education
Organization/Location: REPACTED Kenya, Kenya
Adviser: Mahiri Mwita, Lecturer, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies

Our goal in this project was to foster an open dialogue in Kuria District, Kenya about health issues and to encourage healthy, sustainable practices that would be endorsed by the community. We focused on two important issues in the community: HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness, and clean water use. Working in partnership with two magnet theater groups, Mwangaza in Kuria District and REPACTED in Nakuru, we developed a series of interactive plays, termed “outreaches”, which were performed by group members in various marketplaces, and which addressed the aforementioned issues. I was thrilled to experience rural Kenya and better learn how to work with a large group. I was also glad to be introduced to the technique of magnet theater, a globally practiced agent of social change. This experience helped me to further develop my Kiswahili language skills, and reaffirmed my interest in a holistic, cultural approach to health as well as my appreciation for East African culture.


Daniel Davies, 2014, Mechanical Engineering

Daniel Davies, 2014

Organization/Location: Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Palo Alto, California

In my internship, I helped a physicist, Bob Street, to research organic solar cells. During the eight weeks I was there, we focused on the degradation of the solar cells due to illumination from both UV and visible light. We focused on organic solar cells because their low cost of mass production and the flexibility of the cells. I carried out a large number of measurements on different solar cells. We looked at the degredation of the cells by examining the variation of their photo current after different amounts of exposure to either visible or UV light. During the internship I learned a tremendous amount about the research process. I was surrounded by a number of outstanding researchers who all had slightly different approaches. I learned how research can be used in a completely for-profit environment and how it can be used to help solve the world's energy problems. While not related to my major, this internship did teach me some great techniques and I gained a huge amount of confidence in the ability of the human mind to overcome obstacles.


John Davis, 2014, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

John Davis, 2014

Project: The PAGA-Princeton Wind Turbine Project: Designing and Building a Wind Turbine Power System
Organization/Location: Pan-African Global Academy, Ghana
Adviser: Carolyn Rouse, Professor, Anthropology African American Studies; Catherine Peters, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science; Elie Bou-Zeid, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

The goal of our project was to design and install a wind turbine at a secondary school founded by a Princeton professor, Carolyn Rouse. The purpose of the wind turbine was to: provide a stable source of energy for the school, serve as a research platform for the students, and promote education about sustainable energy in the school and the community. To achieve these ends, we designed the system, assisted in its construction, ordered the necessary parts, and worked with the local government to import the needed elements. We also designed part of a science curriculum for the school and helped teach a few classes. This internship gave me valuable technical knowledge about wind turbines. More importantly, I learned about working in developing countries and its related difficulties, which I had not anticipated. I plan on learning more about the economic development of growing countries and related challenges in my classes, which can hopefully supplement my experience in the field. In the future, I hope to be able to work on a similar project, using everything I learned this past summer.


Lauren Edelman, 2014, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Lauren Edelman, 2014

Project: Industrial-Scale Energy Efficiency: Driving New Technologies and Cutting Carbon
Organization/Location
: Environmental Defense Fund, Austin, Texas
Adviser: Pamela Campos, Environmental Defense Fund

For my internship with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) I investigated permitted greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act's Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program, which was recently launched to regulate greenhouse gases. My project was to assess the effectiveness of the early stages of the PSD program. Throughout the summer I delved into 42 permits looking at fuel selection, energy efficiency technology, and evaluation of carbon capture and storage. I did a more detailed examination of natural gas power plants and cement manufacturing plants. After my analysis I shared my findings over phone conferences with the Environmental Protection Agency and other environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) so that the results of my research can be used to ensure the success of greenhouse gas regulation.
Working with the EDF reaffirmed my interest in environmental issues. Through this internship I also honed my research, communication, and presentation skills, and found a medium through which I can study scientific issues outside of a laboratory - something that may be an option for my future career.


Theodore Eyster, 2013, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Theodore Eyster, 2013

Project: Coliform source tracking on Peddie Lake, and characterization of Washington stream restoration
Organization/Location:
Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, Pennington, New Jersey
Advisers: Eileen Zerba, Senior Lecturer, Princeton Environmental Institute; Amy Soli, Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association

This summer I worked on two distinct yet related projects that dealt with surface water around the greater Princeton area. The first project was working with The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association to look at Peddie Lake in Hightstown, NJ. The lake is host to an annual triathlon, and summer swims. In order to ensure safety to participants, coliform levels in the lake are measured prior to these events. I collected samples around the lake and from its tributaries to track bacterial sources. Results will hopefully be used in an effort to improve the quality of Peddie Lake. The second project focused on the restoration project that was completed in the spring of 2012, along Washington Road on Princeton’s campus. I surveyed the altered streambed, and took water quality measurements to examine the effects of the restoration on the hydrology. I am continuing this research project into the school year for my senior thesis. Both projects gave me a better understanding of the impacts of human development on surface water. Original watersheds and land use in New Jersey have both been greatly altered from their natural states, which has had a major impact on water quality and rain event runoff.


Jeanette Ferrara, 2015, Computer Science

Jeanette Ferrara, 2015

Project: Environmental Barriers During Salmon Smolt Migration to the Pacific Ocean
Organization/Location:
Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: K. Allison Smith, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

I spent this past summer at Princeton University’s Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences conducting research on the possible effects of environmental and climate oscillations on the downriver migration of salmon smolts to the ocean on the Pacific Coast of North America. I read a copious number of scientific papers and journal articles pertaining to salmon, and studies concerning fluctuations in their migration patterns, as well as those pertaining to a number of environmental phenomena, specifically tides, which scientists have hypothesized may have adverse effects on smolt migration. I used an online tide height generation program from the University of South Carolina to generate tide height data for the past twenty years at the mouths of each of the major salmon rivers from Northern Alaska to Southern California. I then wrote a program in R that analyzed the tidal data in order to test the hypothesis that tidal fluctuations that result from climate oscillations would be correlated with smolt migration patterns. I also attended a weekly journal club and a number of seminars. I acquired important programming and data analysis skills, as well as the ability to actively comprehend scientific papers.


Adam Fisch, 2015, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Adam Fisch, 2015

Project: Sustainability and Urban Engineering in the Face of Storm Surges
Organization/Location: Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Advisers: Guy Nordenson, Professor, Architecture; Howard Stone, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

A common problem coastal cities face is storm surge created by passing typhoons or hurricanes. During my summer internship with the Nordenson/Stone Collaborative Research Group, I studied parts of the physical dynamics behind storm surge and how surges form. Part of my work also focused on researching how climate change will affect hurricane patterns in the future in terms of magnitude and frequency. A major component of my group's work focused on developing new protective and creative strategies for the city of Shanghai in China. As background, I learned about different innovative strategies that people have used around the world in places like Rotterdam, London, and New Orleans. My co-intern and I examined various characteristics of Shanghai, including its urban structure, local geography, flooding tendencies, and harbor bathymetry, and helped integrate some of what we found into an extensive GIS program database. I also integrated our research into general, informational presentations on aspects of storm surge risk and protection for a January, 2013 exhibition in Shanghai, to explain the concepts behind our group's project. In the future, I hope to continue to learn more about effective ways of predicting water flow during flooding, as well as finite-element analysis tools.


Kimberly Freid, 2014, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Kimberly Freid, 2014

Project: Biodiversity Assessment in Native and Non-Native Forests of Costa Rica
Organization/Location:
Conservación Osa, Costa Rica
Adviser: Andrew Dobson, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

The Osa Peninsula on the southern pacific coast of Costa Rica is home to nearly 3% of the world's biodiversity, but the land its species occupies is highly variable, consisting of preserved national park area, commercial and agricultural areas, and privately owned land. Essential to forming a conservation strategy for the peninsula is an understanding of how the existing biodiversity uses land that is not completely preserved and/or in contact with domestic farmland. We explored this issue by examining the biological corridor, or forest segment that comes into contact with other forms of land use. To do this, I used camera traps—specialized digital cameras with infrared sensors--to detect large and small mammals in native forest, forest that was partially deforested, and forest that had been converted to commercial plantation. While this was valuable field experience, the most important skill I gained from working on this project was the ability to continuously manipulate my experimental design as new challenges arose. I began this internship knowing only that I wanted to pursue veterinary medicine, but my work on the Osa and developing fascination with this experimental problem-solving piqued my interest in the research component of the field and using medicine to accomplish conservation goals.


Clare Gallagher, 2014, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Clare Gallagher, 2014

Project: Effects of Ocean Acidification on Porites astreoides (Mustard Hill Coral) from Two Bermudian Reef Locations
Organization/Location:
Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, Bermuda and Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Adviser: Samantha de Putron, BIOS

Through my internship, I was able to conduct 10 weeks of lab and field research in Bermuda and two weeks of lab work at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. The goal was to experience the world of marine research and ultimately, to execute an experiment worthy of being published. I became "science" SCUBA certified and was therefore able to dive to collect and return adult corals for my lab experiment on ocean acidification. By raising coral from the larval stage in a controlled environment in a lab at BIOS, I was able to learn firsthand the effects of ocean acidification on coral recruits (babies) . My experiment tested whether corals from two different Bermudian reefs handled the effects of ocean acidification differently.The Bermudian lifestyle was a fantastic experience and it was interesting to counter it with the demanding hours that my experiment required. The best moments of the summer were when I was diving in the Bermudian reefs. Getting SCUBA certified has opened my eyes to the marine world and to all of the opportunities for marine research around the world, which I may pursue for my independent work. Hopefully by next summer, my experiment will be published and I will be a secondary author.


Stephanie Gati, 2013, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Stephanie Gati, 2013

Project: Nutrition, Infectious Disease, and Maternal Child Health in Laikipiak Maasai
Organization/Location
: Mpala Research Center, Kenya
Adviser: Stephanie Hauck, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

This summer, I joined a research project, Disease Interactions in Malnourished Children (DIMAC), through Princeton's department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Mpala Research Center in Laikipia, Kenya. This project examines the relationship between malnutrition and respiratory infections, focusing on the pastoralist communities of Northern Kenya. Over my two months in Kenya, I conducted 68 interviews with mothers of children under five years old about their children's health, nutrition, vaccinations, socioeconomic status, and health-seeking behavior, and I measured the children for indicators of moderate to severe malnutrition. Over the next two years, these children will remain in the study for serological sampling, while the study evaluates the efficacy of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in malnourished children. From my interviews, I learned about the challenges that women and children face in obtaining proper food and health care in low-resource settings. In addition to the interviews, I collected medical records from four local clinics and hospitals, which will be used to determine seasonal fluctuations in the incidence of pneumonia and other respiratory infections. The data from the interviews and medical records will be analyzed in my senior thesis, looking at the interactions between malnutrition, vaccination, and incidence of respiratory infections.


Sarah Germain, 2013, Operations Research and Financial Engineering

Sarah Germain, 2013

Project: Potable Water for La Pitajaya
Organization/Location:
Engineers Without Borders, Peru
Adviser: Peter Jaffe, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

This summer I spent one month in the town of Samne, Peru. Along with six other Princeton undergraduate and graduate students and a professional engineer mentor, we implemented phase one of a gravity-fed water distribution system in the settlement of La Pitajaya, Peru. We represented the travel team of the student organization, Engineers Without Borders - Princeton, the goal of which is to implement sustainable engineering projects in the developing world. We ran into delays on the ground, but were able to complete the source collection, the reservoir base, and about 1 km of piping between the source and the reservoir. We plan to return next summer to finish the water system and bring potable water to the people of La Pitajaya. The opportunity to apply engineering concepts on the ground made me appreciate my studies at Princeton, but also made me reflect on how incorporating community wants and needs into the project is often more challenging than the engineering design problem itself. Working alongside the people of La Pitajaya, who are incredibly motivated to improve the well being of their community, was truly a rewarding experience and makes me want to find ways to make international development even more effective in the future.


Alexandra Green, 2013, Environmental Engineering

Alexandra Green, 2013

Project: Community-Based Management of Forest Resources in the Asia-Pacific Region
Organization/Location:
The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC), Hanoi, Vietnam
Adviser: Mariesa Mason, Princeton in Asia

This summer I spent two months working for RECOFTC - The Center for People and Forests at their Country Program Office in Hanoi, Vietnam (VCPO). RECOFTC, an international nongovernment organization (NGO) based in Bangkok, Thailand, works to increase the capacity of people living in and around forest regions by promoting community forestry practices, improving livelihoods, empowering communities, enhancing community governance, eliminating forest-related conflict, and fighting climate change. While at RECOFTC, my main objective was to write a preliminary draft of the first communications strategy for the VCPO, while also providing support for the office staff and learning about RECOFTC’s mission, strategy, and methods in the field. During my internship, not only did I learn about the technical aspects of community forestry and climate change in Vietnam, but also about the inner workings of an NGO and the policy and governmental relations necessary to make progress in the field. My experience in Vietnam has inspired me to examine environmental factors such as water quality in Southeast Asia for my senior thesis.


Chris Hamm, 2014, Environmental Engineering

Chris Hamm, 2014

Project: Deep Convective Transport of Air Pollutants and Their Impacts on Cirrus Cloud Formation
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Salina, Kansas and Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Mark Zondlo, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

As a part of the Zondlo Group, I worked in the lab and in the field to accurately measure ice supersaturation and cirrus cloud formation in the lower stratosphere. I traveled to Salina, Kansas to take part in the Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry (DC3) Campaign to help maintain our water vapor detecting instrument, the VCSEL hygrometer, as it was flown over the western U.S. Working in conjunction with NASA, the National Science Foundation and several other research groups, we obtained a wealth of data, tracking the chemistry of the inflow and outflow of deep convective storms to gain a better understanding of the role of convection in the chemistry of the lower stratosphere. I spent the rest of the summer in the lab at Princeton, working with data from the campaign and designing systems to calibrate our instrument. I came away from my experience with an understanding of the importance of scientific research in gauging the rate of climate change and the impact we have on our planet. I am going to keep working with Professor Zondlo throughout the year, and plan to use my experience this summer to start my junior independent research in the spring.


Rebecca Haynes, 2015, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Rebecca Haynes, 2015

Project: Teaching Assistant for Conservation Clubs
Organization/Location:
Mpala Research Center, Kenya
Adviser: Daniel Rubenstein, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, African Studies

I spent the summer of 2012 working as a teaching assistant at the Conservation Clubs of seven schools in Northern Kenya. Most regions where these schools were located face severe desertification due to deforestation, overgrazing, drought, and mismanagement of resources. This summer I primarily worked educating students and their communities about ways to conserve valuable resources and to protect the ecosystem. With advisors and another Princeton student, I helped design lesson plans, games, and activities to teach children about different components of the ecosystem, from basic elements and the importance of trees to the unity and interdependence of species in a food web. Central to my goals was discussing the need for coexistence with wildlife, dispelling the notion that environmental reform undermines the livelihood of pastoral communities and instead increases the production and value of farming land. My internship showed me that environmental education is central to sustainability efforts. Although I plan to focus my studies more on ecological and biological research than on teaching in the future, my summer in Kenya confirmed my aspirations to pursue conservation and environmental reform as a career.


Booyeon Han, 2013, Chemistry

Booyeon Han, 2013

Project: Piezoelectric Nanoribbon Assemblies Printed onto Rubber for Highly Efficient, Flexible Energy Harvesting
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Michael McAlpine, Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

My summer research project focused on the exploration of more efficient and environmentally friendly methods for the synthesis of piezoelectric nanowires. These nanowires have many applications, including but not limited to electronics, sensing, energy conversion, and cellular biology. I honed in on the success of piezoelectric nanowires with various biotemplates. Future work will be directed to the possibilities of using microfluidic devices for the controlled synthesis of these nanowires with the biotemplates: alginate, phage, and peptides. In addition, the properties of lead zirconate titanate (PZT) nanowire films will be explored. The project that I started in the McAlpine Research Group has opened more options in the field of academics for me. I am now very seriously considering the possibilities of research at the graduate school level. My full experience and immersion in the laboratory setting was very helpful in guiding my values and thoughts on research that can be accomplished for the advancement of knowledge and technology - not just for academics but also for practical applications like energy harvesting.


Christina Healy, 2014, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Christina Healy, 2014

Project: Who Eats What in the Sea: Quantifying Marine Predator-Prey Dynamics
Organization/Location:
Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Jorge Sarmiento, Professor, Geosciences

I spent this past summer doing research at the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences in Princeton, New Jersey. I worked closely with faculty attempting to model a marine ecosystem off the coast of Alaska. In short, my project concerned quantifying predator-prey interactions with respect to physical body size. Some of my findings included identifying the system as a wasp-waist ecosystem (all of the energy is funneled through a very small middle trophic level), identifying key species for ecosystem health, and showing that predator-prey mass ratio was not constant, but rather increased with size. It is commonly believed that the predator-prey size ratio is constant in most ecosystems, so this finding was surprising. This led to an important realization: that all the species in the ecosystem were eating the same two prey items and that we should take steps to protect these critical prey items, otherwise the ecosystem could very easily be thrown out of balance. An unforgettable and incredibly rewarding experience, my internship increased my desire to pursue scientific research in the future. I plan on completing an Environmental Studies certificate, and hope to include mathematical and ecological modeling in my independent work.


Elliot Horlick, 2015, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Elliot Horlick, 2015

Project: Increasing Bacterial Susceptibility to Antibiotics: Kinetic Modeling of Hydrogen Peroxide – Consuming Reactions in Escherichia Coli
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Adviser: Mark Brynildsen, Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering

The overuse of antibiotics has enabled bacteria to grow increasingly resistant to them. The ultimate goal of the research I conducted over the summer in the Brynildsen Laboratory was to make bacteria more susceptible to antibacterial effects. Our aim was to hinder the ability of bacteria to acquire resistance to antibiotics by altering their metabolism so that they produce higher-than-normal amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS such as hydrogen peroxide are produced in small amounts by all aerobic organisms and cause greater levels of oxidative damage than oxygen does. Antibiotics utilize ROS to fight bacteria, so increasing the basal level of ROS in bacteria aids antibiotics in killing them: ROS levels in bacterial cells exposed to antibiotics would be so high that the induced oxidative damage would become too great for the bacterium cell to handle. My summer research was the first step in learning how to manipulate bacterial ROS levels: searching the scientific literature for quantitative information about and creating a kinetic model of all reactions in Escherichia coli that consume hydrogen peroxide. I look forward to continuing my work on this project and eventually using the information predicted by my model to discover ways of increasing bacterial susceptibility to antibiotics.


Brian Huang, 2013, Computer Science

Brian Huang, 2013

Project: A Novel Analysis of Early Warning Metrics for Tipping Points
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Jorge Sarmiento, Professor, Geosciences

This summer, I conducted research in the Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) at Princeton's Forrestal Campus. The main goal of my research was to contribute to the search for reliable early warning metrics for abrupt climate change. A few studies have analyzed early warning signals by testing them on paleoclimate records which record abrupt climate shifts in the distant past, and although the metrics seem promising, their development is still at an exploratory level. I initially planned to use Monte Carlo simulations to quantitatively measure the power of these early warning indicators using a previously created methodology, but partway through my internship, I reexamined this approach. In the end, after much reading and with my mentor's help, I designed a novel and more rigorous approach to analyzing the power of our early warning metrics. Among other things, this entailed finding and coding a model for the underlying mechanics of a generic abrupt climate shift, creating an algorithmic method for determining success in the metrics, and a means of comparing metrics despite uncertainty about the optimal combination of their parameters. My internship also gave me the opportunity to attend several interesting seminars and talks within AOS as well as at the NOAA-run Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. This experience not only taught me about the current questions in the field of climate science, but also gave me the opportunity to participate in the effort to answer them.


Sarah Jeong, 2015, Woodrow Wilson School

Sarah Jeong, 2015

Project: Environmental Learning Research Centre, South Africa
Organization/Location:
Rhodes University, South Africa
Adviser: Robert O’Donoghue, Rhodes University

My internship with the Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC) showed me the necessity of an interdisciplinary background when tackling environmental issues. The ELRC's practical approach to encouraging sustainability was very rewarding because its projects contributed directly to local communities. I worked on projects ranging from assisting in the design of an environmental education kit that will be reproduced and mailed to schools across the Eastern Cape to publishing the success and failure stories of local sustainable entrepreneurs. I discovered that environmental change requires knowledge not just in environmental issues, but also in psychology, ethics, economics, and a wide range of other fields. My work reinforced my love for the environment and writing, and introduced a new passion for understanding cultures and using sustainability to benefit communities. I excitedly anticipate exploring environmental policy in African countries through the Woodrow Wilson School. I am thankful this internship gave me so much direction and kindled an interest that I see myself pursuing indefinitely. I hope to extend what I learned this summer to give back to the communities and causes that have made my education so fulfilling.


Cynthia Kanno, 2013, Geosciences

Cynthia Kanno, 2013

Project: Improving Sustainability in Agroecosystems
Organization/Location:
Environmental Defense Fund, Washington, D.C.
Adviser: Eileen McLellan, Environmental Defense Fund

As an intern with the Agricultural Sustainability group of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), I focused on promoting wetland restoration as well as various cropfield and downstream land-use practices in the Mississippi River basin to help mitigate fertilizer runoff, improve water quality, and decrease the span of the hypoxic dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. My primary objective was to evaluate if the conversion of cropland to wetland had net carbon sequestration benefits. My assessment of the state of science on this topic will be used to develop EDF’s policy on the carbon credit potential of wetlands. The best part of my internship was that I felt fully integrated into the team from the start. I conducted multiple side projects with other staff members in preparation for meetings with EDF leadership, federal agencies, senators, and representatives. I also attended workshops, discussions with lobbyists, and department-wide strategic planning meetings. These experiences allowed me to gain insight into the operations of a non-profit organization and to learn how EDF creates change. Thanks to this summer experience, I am interested in pursuing a graduate degree in Geosciences and a career in the environmental field.


Emily Kaplan, 2014, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Emily Kaplan, 2014

Project: Climate Change, Agriculture, and Biodiversity in South Africa and Zambia
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Kelly Caylor, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

I interned with Lyndon Estes in Civil and Environmental Engineering. My first project of the summer was to collect data from presenters at a Symposium on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Biodiversity in South Africa held in August 2011. I prepared this data for webhosting by using ArcMap. Other projects included working with iWeb and Roxen to design three websites: a site for the symposium, a site for Lyndon’s doctoral research, and a site for his current project, which is mapping crop fields in South Africa with public participation through Amazon Mechanical Turk. Lastly, I contributed to the crop field mapping project using ArcMap. Not only did I gain experience with ArcMap, iWeb, and Roxen, but by working with graduate students and among other interns, I was also able to learn about the methodology of research projects. My knowledge of ArcGIS, a popular and useful program in many departments, will be very helpful with independent work over the next two years, and beyond graduation.


Alexandra Kasdin, 2014, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Alexandra Kasdin, 2014

Project: Climate Communications Internship at Climate Central
Organization/Location:
Climate Central, Princeton, NJ
Adviser: Michael Lemonick, Visiting Lecturer, Astrophysical Sciences and the Council on Science and Technology; Climate Central

Climate Central is a small non-profit, non-advocacy research and journalism organization that focuses on climate change. Because Climate Central is such a small organization, my internship afforded me exposure to many aspects of a non-profit, from development to publicity and communications. My main responsibility at Climate Central was to produce content that informed the public about issues related to climate change for the organization’s website. Climate change is one of the most nuanced, confusing, far-reaching, and controversial issues in the environmental sector today. Not only did my work with Climate Central help communicate clear and unbiased information about climate change and energy to the general public but it also helped me gain a better understanding of climate change and its impacts. After this summer, I still want to continue on my path towards becoming a scientifically informed policymaker in the field of conservation biology. Furthermore, my internship confirmed for me the importance of environmental education in determining and progressing towards sustainable solutions.


Preston Cosslett Kemeny, 2015, Physics, Geosciences

Preston Cosslett Kemeny, 2015

Project: Isotopic Equilibration between Rainfall and Atmospheric Water Vapor
Organization/Location:
Mpala Research Centre, Kenya
Adviser: Kelly Caylor, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

This summer I spent ten weeks with the Princeton EcoHydrology Lab in Kenya researching the degree of isotopic equilibration between atmospheric water vapor and rainfall. This research, which relates to parameters used in climatological modeling, was part of an ongoing effort by the EcoHydrology Lab to understand land degradation in dryland ecosystems. By collecting high temporal resolution rainwater samples during rain events while continuously measuring the isotopic composition of atmospheric water vapor and several meteorological variables, I analyzed whether the isotopes present in atmospheric water vapor and rainfall equilibrate over the course of a storm. In addition to this experiment, I led a large stable isotope sampling project examining the effects of various tree-thinning procedures on plots adjacent to the Kenya Long-term Exclosure Experiment, and another data collection project focusing on the consistency of soil water vapor isotopic measurements among three distinct sampling methods. Through this internship I developed a strong foundation in stable isotope analysis techniques and advanced MatLab programming, as well as an appreciation of the difficulties of fieldwork. I also greatly enjoyed the opportunity to explore Kenya and its cultures. This internship reaffirmed my interest in studying physics and geosciences, and I would strongly recommend this position to any student with similar interests.


Adam Kinalski, 2014, Woodrow Wilson School

Adam Kinalski, 2014

Project: Oxford University Clinical Research Unit
Organization/Location:
Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Singapore Vietnam
Adviser: Bryan Grenfell, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Woodrow Wilson School

Pneumonia is the leading killer of children globally, with 1.4 million children dying of the disease before their fifth birthday in 2010 alone. Whilst vaccines against some pneumonia pathogens are being rolled out, simple, low-cost, and scalable interventions to reduce the burden of pneumonia are elusive. An entirely unexplored area is the impact of the hydration state of people with acute lower respiratory tract infections (ALRI) on the risk of progression to severe pneumonia. At Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) in Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, I researched the subject by analyzing two data sets compiled by OUCRU and wrote a systematic review on relationships between blood volume status and outcomes in community-acquired pneumonia. The internship not only provided me with the necessary support , both professional and technological , to complete my literature review but also allowed me an opportunity to visit people afflicted with the illness I was researching at the nearby Hospital for Tropical Diseases. I learned how to write research reports professionally and compassionately, a style I found both challenging and rewarding. The internship also exposed me to a new and completely unfamiliar culture and helped me find purpose within my academic work.


Wendy Lang, 2013, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Wendy Lang, 2013

Project: Scientific Basis for Energy and Environmental Initiatives
Organization/Location
: Environmental Defense Fund, San Francisco, California
Adviser: Millie Chu Baird, Environmental Defense Fund

This summer I interned with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), where I worked with the Office of Chief Scientist on a variety of projects aimed at ensuring that EDF’s positions and efforts are based on the best available scientific information. I conducted research and analyzed and synthesized information on environmental topics including methane leakage and monitoring, greenhouse gas inventories, deforestation emissions, climate model accuracy, low carbon fuel standards, and carbon capture and storage. This information was utilized in an array of specific program and team tasks as well as campaigns engaging the entire organization. I was also involved in developing preliminary frameworks for formulating, implementing, and evaluating metrics to be applied across different programs. Being able to participate in a wide range of initiatives allowed me not only to gain insights into the efforts and operations of a major non-profit organization, but also to strengthen my research skills and expand my knowledge of energy and environmental concerns and movements. This internship reaffirmed my interests in environmental studies and sustainable energy - areas which I am continuing to explore at Princeton and hope to continue in the future.


Brett Leibowitz, 2013, Operations Research and Financial Engineering

Brett Leibowitz, 2013

Project: Estimating Fishing Impact on Habitat Productivity
Organization/Location: Environmental Defense Fund, San Francisco, CA
Adviser: Rod Fujita, Environmental Defense Fund

This past summer, I worked with the Environmental Defense Funds' Oceans Research and Development Team where I helped create mathematical and statistical models that simulate fisheries. These models concentrated on estimating the effects of fishing different species based on either their age or spatial location (e.g. fishing only adults or only juveniles). We spent the first half of the summer mainly researching reputable sources for data on species and models to predict how the population would react. The latter part of the summer I spent actually creating my models based on my research. This internship was very helpful in teaching me how fisheries are managed and how research can be performed to help improve the sustainability of fisheries. It has influenced my topic for my senior thesis, entitled, "Optimizing Biological and Financial Returns for Fisheries: A Model of a Fishing Credit System." The information I learned from this internship is incredibly valuable and will be very useful in my studies and in my future endeavors.


Collen Leng, 2014 Mechanical Engineering

Ziwei Leng, 2014

Project: Development of Flow Through Electrodes for Vanadium Flow Batteries
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Jay Benziger, Professor Chemical and Biological Engineering

Renewable energy cannot provide us with reliable power unless we can store the energy from its intermittent sources. The vanadium redox flow battery is a promising technology; however, its efficiency is low, and the battery components are expensive. To address this, I worked with another Princeton undergraduate to create and test two vanadium battery designs. The first design replicates the one that researchers and industries currently use. The second design originates from our research group and is radically different. Using the Pro/ENGINEER software, I designed the two batteries, and then we built and tested them. Having started this project from scratch, we spent many weeks researching, designing, constructing a battery cell/vanadium solution system, and restructuring the system for better operation. The data that we collected from charge and discharge tests show that our second design is significantly more efficient. However, we will need to make more adjustments and conduct more tests to better understand why our design has higher efficiency. My work on the vanadium flow battery has given me a better understanding of the design and improvement of a promising energy storage option. This research topic further increased my interest in exploring deeper into the field of energy storage.


Audrey Li, 2013, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Audrey Li, 2013

Project: Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy
Organization/Location:
Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy (CDDEP), Washington, DC
Adviser: Ramanan Laxminarayan, Research Scholar, Princeton Environmental Institute

Working with the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy this summer, I sought to identify whether certain behaviors of hospital staff were associated with higher or lower rates of healthcare-associated infection. By searching for state-reported figures for infection on a hospital level, then aggregating that information with data culled from a Joint Commission Survey on hospital doctor, nurse, infection control practitioner, and executive perception and action, I attempted to find statistically significant factors. Through this internship, I was able to learn much about data analysis and the use of statistical software. Beyond this technical skill, I was able to engage with incredibly interesting data surrounding the culture of hospital workers. As a pre-medical student who is particularly interested in the specialty of infectious disease, this summer reaffirmed my passion for this area of study, and has augmented it with a behavioral dimension. I will continue this project in my senior independent work.


Deul Lim, 2013, Economics

Deul Lim, 2013

Project: The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria
Organization/Location:
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, Geneva, Switzerland
Adviser: Kristina Graff, Center for Health and Well-Being, Woodrow Wilson School

I worked as a summer intern at The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, an international organization based in Geneva that finances projects to combat epidemics in more than 150 countries. I arrived at the Global Fund when it was redesigning grant management policies to improve the organization's efficiency and impact. As a part of this effort, I worked with my supervisors at the Operational Policy & Renewals team to research the determinants of the Global Fund disbursement speed. I interviewed staff members, collected data, and ran regression analysis. I presented the research to more than 50 staff members; the final dataset and report were distributed to the presentation participants. In the third month of the internship, I helped with a Program Finance team project, which aimed to prepare for audit by compiling a clear record of past fund allocations. I worked closely with Finance Officers to collect and verify source documents and to put together balance sheets detailing the fund allocations on AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis projects in Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, and Pakistan. The internship experience inspired me to write a senior thesis on international development and to pursue a career in economics research.


Briana Liu, 2015, Woodrow Wilson School

Briana Liu, 2015

Project: Environmental Learning Research Centre
Organization/Location:
Rhodes University, South Africa
Adviser: Robert O’Donoghue, Rhodes University

In South Africa, my primary role was to assist the Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC) at Rhodes University with its environmental education and community development programs. I worked with the local youth’s cleaning and greening initiative to install composters and sustainable gardening in the Ward 7 township, a poor district that relies heavily on government funds. I interviewed these youths and wrote a newspaper article to publicize their venture. Another program I took part in was an earth systems education workshop, where I met youth from all over South Africa, discussed the different paths for development, and observed the unique way in which the diverse environmental topics could be taught under a “Habitable Planet” hierarchy model. I also helped develop a box kit for teaching schoolchildren about water systems, using South Africa’s own landscape and Orange-Senqu watershed as a case study. These various experiences allowed me to see that in the face of government with limited funding and low priority given to the environment, grassroots organizations play a critical role in empowering citizens to understand how to live economically self-sufficient and ecologically sustainable lifestyles. I would love to educate people about the environment in my future career.


Yanran Lu, 2014, Operations Research and Financial Engineering


Project: Modeling Crop Yields in Africa
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: David Medvigy, Assistant Professor, Geosciences

This summer, I worked with Professor David Medvigy in the Geosciences Department at Princeton. I attempted to determine how to predict maize yields in tropical Africa using the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM), a crop simulator that helps predict the yield of different crops using weather data. I wrote code in the programming language R to help make this data usable in APSIM, and simulated maize yields over 61 years and 9 one-degree squares in Nigeria. I used R to make linear models predicting the yields based on variables that I created, like “average rain in May” or “maximum radiation in June.” Although I had some success with this, the linear models could only explain half of the variation displayed in the yields, indicating that the consolidation of data into “growing season” or “monthly” statistics was insufficient; the day-to-day variations dictate the yield of maize. I then created my own weather files to see how monthly and daily variations in the meteorological variables affected the yield. My findings reinforced that daily variation is the most important variable, and that specifically daily variation in rainfall is important in attaining higher yields. Throughout this internship, I learned a lot about coding in R and thinking analytically, and was able to work closely with a professor for the first time.


Jessica Luo, 2015, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Jessica Luo, 2015

Project: Sustainability and Urban Engineering in the Face of Storm Surges
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Advisers: Guy Nordenson, Professor, Architecture; Howard Stone, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

In recent years, we have seen stronger, more frequent tropical storms devastate coastal communities. While we cannot prevent these storms from occurring, what can we do to mitigate the consequences of water once it surges into the city? Professor Guy Nordenson’s book “On the Water: Palisade Bay” explores possible engineering and design solutions that could be used to protect New York City from the effects of storms. My internship this summer sought to apply these concepts to Shanghai. I learned about some of the physical concepts behind storm surge, researched the strategies that people have used to live with the water as well as their perceptions of the water, examined various characteristics of Shanghai, and helped build a GIS database. I also developed informational presentations for an upcoming exhibition to help explain the concepts behind our project to a general audience. In addition to refining my research skills, I gained insight on the ways that people have focused on addressing environmental challenges rather than getting caught up in political debates about the environment. I believe the knowledge and skills I gained during this internship will be applicable in anything I do and could influence my independent work in the future.


Miranda Marks, 2013, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Miranda Marks, 2013

Project: Developing a New SEAS Course on Energy-Water Nexus
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Eric Larson, Research Engineer, Princeton Environmental Institute

This summer I worked with Professor Eric Larson (Princeton Environmental Institute) and Professor Sankaran Sundaresan (Chemical and Biological Engineering) to develop a new Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE) course to be offered in fall 2012. This course, titled "The Energy-Water Nexus," is intended to teach students about the challenges surrounding the ever-increasing global consumption of energy and water, as well as the large overlap between these two areas. During this internship I researched current literature on global and regional energy and water challenges, alternative energy sources, desalination, and climate change; created problem sets that used engineering fundamentals to examine energy and water use in power plants; and learned and implemented the computer program Aspen Plus to simulate various power plant and desalination processes. I was able to gain an extensive background in the study of energy and water. This research ties directly to my senior thesis, in which I will use Aspen Plus to study water and energy use of an energy conversion plant.


Eskender McCoy, 2014, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Eskender McCoy, 2014

Project: Tropical Forests as Carbon Sinks, Princeton University and Panama
Organization/Location: Princeton University, STRI, Princeton, NJ. Gamboa and Barro Colorado, Panama
Adviser: David Medvigy, Assistant Professor, Geosciences

As an intern in a Princeton Environmental Institute research laboratory, I worked to identify the effect that future carbon dioxide levels will have on the health and growth of both nitrogen fixing and non-nitrogen fixing tropical trees. Half of the summer I was working in a lab on the Princeton University campus. While there I spent my time preparing and analyzing plant and dirt samples (collected during last summer’s growing season) to identify how many nutrients were absorbed and where they were allocated within the plant. I spent the second half of my summer at a field site in Panama, collecting and processing plants that had been planted earlier in the year. Over the course of this internship I was given insight as to the way researchers design experiments in order to assess the future impact of climate change. I also gained hands-on knowledge of how to set up and maintain an experimental field site. This internship has not only given me experience and knowledge that will be invaluable to future work that I will undertake within my major, it has also reinforced my interest in ecological conservation and climate change.


Ryan McNellis, 2015, Computer Science

Ryan McNellis, 2015

Project: Simulated and Observed Trends in Climate Variability
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: David Medvigy, Assistant Professor, Geosciences

During my internship with PIRANHA (the Princeton Institute for Rainforests and the Amazon including their Nutrients, Hydrology, and the Atmosphere) in the Geosciences department of Princeton University, I examined the accuracy of mathematical models in predicting trends in climate variability over time, focusing specifically on daily scale surface solar radiation variability. I used the mathematical model output to examine future trends in climate variability and to determine the role of CO2 concentrations in influencing trends in variability. Climate variability is an area of study which is often overlooked; strong positive/negative trends in variability can have significant consequences for the ecosystems of affected areas. I conducted my research using output from 15 global climate models that contributed to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5). This internship gave me the opportunity to experience what it would be like to have a career in the sciences. I have always been interested in applied math, and this project gave me a chance to see what the science side (as opposed to the financial/business side) of applied math is like. From this experience, I gained new skills in statistical analysis and in programming, especially working with the R programming language.


Emily Moder, 2013, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Emily Moder, 2013

Project: North China Electric Power
Organization/Location:
North China Electric Power University, China
Advisers: Eric Larson, Research Engineer, Princeton Environmental Institute. Lecturer in Chemical and Biological Engineering; Liu Yongqian, North China Electric Power

This summer I worked in a graduate student lab at the North China Electric Power University in Beijing. My research was focused on improving understanding of wind speed distributions in order to increase the ability of wind farms to predict their energy output. To do this, I used several established wind speed distribution models and compared their outputs to data of various meteorological variables, to determine patterns as to when different models produced accurate results. Since I hope to work on developing and expanding the use of renewable energy both in the U.S. and abroad, this experience was incredibly valuable in both thinking about my plans after graduation and in giving me perpective on how renewable energy is seen in China. I was able to collaborate with students and faculty from different countries on a mission of mutual interest: wind energy. I also have a new appreciation for the importance of understanding the culture in which one works, and how people of different backgrounds can come together to work toward a common vision for a better future.


Emily Moder, 2013, Civil/Environmental Engineering

Emily Moder, 2013

Project: Potable Water for La Pitajaya
Organization/Location: Princeton University, Peru
Adviser: Peter Jaffe, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

As part of a continuing five-year partnership with the community of Samne, Peru, a representative team of students from Princeton's Engineers Without Borders chapter traveled this summer with the goal of implementing Phase I of a potable water project for the community. While central Samne has clean running water, the settlement of La Pitajaya, 40 minutes outside town, takes its water from an open stream flowing from the polluted Moche River. While in Peru, we worked closely with community members to figure out the best way to capture the water of a clean spring source, built a concrete source box to regulate the water and a reservoir base above the town for storage, and began digging trenches for the 5-km pipe network which will transport the water into the community. We also worked with the women and children of the town to talk about water and sanitation issues, and to ensure that the system is well understood and appreciated so that it will be sustained. The project will continue and we hope to send another team to help finish it, by laying the piping and building household tapstands, next summer. This project allowed me to apply knowledge and skills from my civil and environmental engineering classes in a practical setting, and gave me valuable experience working in the field on susbainable development projects.


David Newill-Smith, 2014, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

David Newill-Smith, 2014

Project: The PAGA-Princeton Wind Turbine Project: Designing and Building a Wind Turbine Power System in Oshiyie, Ghana
Organization/Location:
Pan African Global Academy, Ghana
Advisers: Carolyn Rouse, Professor, Anthropology African American Studies; Catherine Peters, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science; Elie Bou-Zeid, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

My internship this summer at Pan African Global Academy (PAGA) high school in Oshiyie, Ghana was an incredible introduction into the logistics of designing and building off-grid renewable energy systems and the world of International Development. Over the course of the internship, I had the opportunity to work closely with Ghanian electricians, masons, and other professionals working in renewable energy to design and start construction on a small wind turbine power system for PAGA. This entire process, filled with both successes and difficulties, gave me rare and invaluable insight into the logistics of building small, off-grid, renewable energy systems. Aside from the technical and logistical skills I learned, I gained a new perspective into international development work and formed incredibly rich relationships with the students and faculty of PAGA, renewable energy professionals, and other Ghanians I met. The experience shaped my plans for future involvement in international development. It allowed me to see what does and does not work in projects such as this, and how to build a social venture for accomplishing something positive in the world.


Carolina Nunez, 2013, Astrophysical Sciences

Carolina Nunez, 2013

Project: The PAGA-Princeton Wind Turbine Project: Designing and Building a Wind Turbine Power System in Oshiyie, Ghana, Ghana
Organization/Location: Pan African Global Academy, Ghana
Adviser: Carolyn Rouse, Professor, Anthropology African American Studies; Catherine Peters, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science; Elie Bou-Zeid, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

During my PEI summer internship, I worked at the Pan African Global Academy (PAGA) in Oshiyie, Ghana, along with two fellow PEI interns. PAGA was established by Professor Rouse, whose aim was to build an environmentally, socially and financially sustainable high school. In alignment with this philosophy, our goals were to design and implement a wind turbine system on the school grounds to meet the energy demands of the school, and to develop a project-based curriculum for the second-year science program that would allow students to interact with the turbine. Despite the many challenges of the project, we successfully designed a wind turbine system and laid the foundation for its installation, including construction of the turbine's anchor system, trenches for electrical wiring, and a local shelter for batteries. Furthermore, we were able to interact with a network of Ghanaian sustainable energy professionals. We look forward to the turbine's imminent installation. In addition, we were able to begin development of the curriculum, identifying several projects that addressed Ghanaian academic standards. Overall, this internship provided me with true insight into the challenges of development work, and I hope to apply my experiences to future work.


Yuem Park, 2015 Geosciences

Yuem Park, 2015

Project: Ice Sheet Variability 300 Million Years Ago as an Analog to Modern Climate Change
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Adam Maloof, Associate Professor, Geosciences

Over the summer, in the states of Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and Nevada, I acted as a field assistant to a PhD student in the Princeton Geosciences Department. We would study a geological map or another pertinent research paper, identify where we would most likely be able to examine rock outcrop of the specific age (the late Paleozoic Age, about 300 million years ago) and type (sedimentary carbonates) that were relevant to our project, then drive to that location and hike and camp in the mountains or canyon, studying the rock and collecting samples. From this information we can infer climatic conditions and the sea level of the time when the rock was deposited. By understanding the climate of the past, we can be better equipped to approach the climatic challenges that face us today and those yet to be encountered. By being a direct contributor to such an important research project, I was fortunate enough to acquire innumerable field skills and knowledge about geology as a whole. This experience gave me an invaluable foundation upon which to build my studies in the Geoscience Department.


Ryan Peng, 2014, Operations Research and Financial Engineering

Ryan Peng, 2014

Project: A Stochastic Model for Energy Systems Pricing
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Advisers: Warren Powell, Professor, Operations Research and Financial Engineering; Ricardo Collado, Associate Professional Specialist, Operations Research and Financial Engineering

This past summer, I worked in the Princeton Laboratory for Energy Systems Analysis (PENSA) to develop a computer model for optimizing purchases of energy contracts in order to meet random customer demands. The primary goal was to maximize profits, while minimizing exposure to risks that are inherently present with this type of random demand. This is an important and fundamental challenge that energy distribution companies face every day. In order to create such a model, I used my skills in applied math (linear programming and stochastic calculus) and computer science (MATLAB and related software) to develop an efficient program that would determine the amounts of energy that should be bought on each day. Through this project, I have sharpened my technical skills and learned much about energy policy and distribution. I had a great time working on this model, while learning from my advisors and talking to my colleagues who worked on other energy research projects at PENSA. With this experience in mind, I feel better prepared to perform original research for my senior thesis at Princeton.


Zhaonan Qu, 2015, Mathematics

Zhaonan Qu

Project: Actively Cooled, Actively Wetted Liquid Lithium Divertor Design
Organization/Location: Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton, NJ
Adviser: Robert Goldston, Professor, Astrophysical Sciences

Fusion energy is among one of the several promising new energy resources. However, a major technical issue remains unsolved for fusion energy reactors: Temperature in the Scrape-Off Layer (SOL, the part of the plasma immediately in contact with reactor walls) remains hard to control, which could lead to major disruptions that break a sustainable fusion reaction. This summer I worked at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory on a project that aims to determine the cooling efficiencies of several different elements in fusion plasma, and explored their viability as alternatives to current elements to cool the plasma in the SOL. To this end, I performed MATLAB numerical simulations of one-dimensional cooling models utilizing data from Atomic Data and Analysis Structure to compare how lithium, beryllium, and carbon behave in terms of cooling efficiency. I discovered that carbon and nitrogen have very similar cooling efficiency-temperature curves, while those of lithium and beryllium bear striking resemblance to each other. Throughout the project, I gained valuable experience with MATLAB, and also acquired some knowledge of atomic physics and energy sciences. More importantly, I had a great experience at a major energy sciences research site that showed me what real research in that field is like.


Kojo Quaye, 2014, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Kojo Quaye, 2014

Project: Food Project Metric Analysis of Dining Services
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Stuart Orefice and Sarah Bavuso, Dining Services

I interned with Princeton Dining Services on the Food Metric Analysis and Food Miles Carbon Project. One of the main projects was updating the food metric which details the sustainable food purchases made throughout the 2011-2012 school year. This data allowed us to determine what percentage of purchases were local, organic, humane, socially just, sustainable, fair trade, and/or conventional, and compare these values to past years. Another aspect of my internship dealt with the Carbon Footprint Project, which examines how many grams of CO2 are released for each menu item. I was tasked with calculating the footprint of new items for the 2012-2013 school year. I also participated in a project relating to food waste management within the dining halls. I met with Chef Brad of Butler/Wilson to discuss different options for deciding what to throw away and what to save after dinner service. Hopefully these will be implemented in all the residential dining halls. I really enjoyed my internship and learned a lot. I hope to apply my chemical engineering knowledge to help find a way to make local and/or organic options more affordable and accessible to the public.

Jessica Lynn Saylors, 2013, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Jessica Lynn Saylors, 2013

Project: Crystallization of Small Molecules for Organic Electronic Devices
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Lynn Loo, Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering

This was my second summer working in Professor Lynn Loo’s research group fabricating organic field effect transistors (OFETs) from an organic molecule called contorted hexabenzocoronene (HBC). I used OFETs, a type of switch that forms the basic building blocks of organic electronic devices, to examine the electronic properties of HBC. The main focus of my project was to determine how changing the thickness of an HBC film that comprises an OFET would affect the device’s ability to conduct charge. I fabricated and tested many devices with thicknesses ranging from 40nm to 250nm, using equipment such as a thermal evaporator, optical microscope, and atomic force microscope in my work. As science often does, my project produced both interesting and reproducible results, as well as many more questions to be answered. Through this lab work I acquired laboratory skills, a taste of scientific research and its ups and downs, the thrill of discovery, and the frustration of mistakes and inconsistencies. I plan to use what I learned these past two summers as I expand upon this project as part of my senior thesis.


Alankrita Raghavan, 2015, Molecular Biology

Alankrita Raghavan, 2015

Project: NAZ Foundation
Organization/Location:
Naz Foundation (India) Trust, India
Adviser: Anastasia Vrachnos, Princeton in Asia

This summer, I worked at the Naz Foundation in New Delhi, a public health organization committed to raising awareness about the spread of HIV/AIDS. Initially I compiled information and wrote reports for the various projects in Naz as well as grants for funding the newer projects. I subsequently became involved in the Home Based Care project which provides medicine and nutritional support to underprivileged children living with HIV/AIDS. I worked with foreign media organizations trying to gather information for last July’s International HIV/AIDS conference in Washington D.C.. In addition, I travelled to the slums and government hospitals in Delhi and neighboring regions to speak with the people living with HIV/AIDS and to offer them the services of Naz. Often, people did not understand their rights and they certainly did not know the services that the government provided for them; in this way I also became involved in the counseling aspect of Naz. This internship not only gave me the chance to work directly with the section of society I was trying to help, but also helped me to understand some of the constraints that non-profit organizations face on a daily basis.


Kash Rajagopal, 2014, Woodrow Wilson School

Rajagopal_Kashyap

Project: Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy
Organization/Location:
Public Health Foundation of India; Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy, India
Adviser: Ramanan Laxminarayan, Research Scholar, Princeton Environmental Institute

This summer I worked with the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) in New Delhi, which serves as a think tank and advisory group to the Ministry of Health. Within the organization, I was part of the relatively new Immunization Technical Support Unit (ITSU), which focuses on vaccine supply chain logistics, and specifically on how technical deficiencies in the cold chain hamper routine immunization. My largest project required me to become the point-person on a novel modeling tool called HERMES, a discrete event simulator that can help model the effects of policy changes. Over the summer, I synthesized relevant literature, provided recommendations on means of collaboration, led communication with our partners, and later with a smaller team synchronized our data collection tool with the HERMES input parameters. Seeing our questionnaire finally implemented in Madhya Pradesh during a field visit in late August was especially rewarding. My work helped me understand how far-reaching decisions are significantly informed by nuanced, technical considerations. This experience helped me cultivate a better appreciation for the importance of streamlined management practices and field study in crafting policy. Unfortunately, our own health care system in America is remarkably inefficient; this might be a potential topic for my senior thesis.


Graham Read, 2015, Undeclared

Graham Read, 2015

Project: Engaging Rural Communities in Providing Solutions to Environmental Problems and HIV/AIDS Education
Organization/Location:
REPACTED Kenya, Mwangaza Youth Group, Kenya
Adviser: Mahiri Mwita, Lecturer, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies

My internship project involved work in two phases and locations in Kenya. The first phase consisted of training in the principles of Magnet Theater by REPACTED, a theater organization based in Nakuru, Kenya. During our work with REPACTED, we learned about cultural issues, myths and beliefs associated with HIV/AIDS, clean water use, basic sanitation and other topics. Later, we wrote rough skits and performed these skits around Nakuru with the aid of REPACTED's actors. In the second phase, we traveled to Kuria Province, Kenya, and worked with Mwangaza, a youth group based in the town of Masaba. There, we assisted Mwangaza with their performances, as we did with REPACTED, and established a clear method of data collection, including pre- and post-performance surveys and demographic details, which will be used by Mwangaza in the future. This project helped me learn about the cultural nuances of issues that I had only thus far addressed scientifically, and helped me understand how important the local community can be in driving change within any society. This should be useful information for me in my global health and health policy studies, as it gives me local perspective on global issues.


John Patrick Renschler, 2013, Woodrow Wilson School

John Patrick Renschler, 2013

Project: Pediatric Tuberculosis
Organization/Location:
Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU), Vietnam
Advisers: Bryan Grenfell, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Woodrow Wilson School; Jeremy Farrar, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit and Princeton University Global Scholar; Nulda Beyers, Desmond Tutu TB Centre

As an intern at the OUCRU in Hanoi,Vietnam, my project was to assess the performance of microscopic-observation drug-susceptibility (MODS) culture as a diagnostic test for pediatric tuberculosis. Pediatric TB is a serious concern within resource-limited areas where the failure to rapidly diagnose and instigate appropriate treatment leads to fatalities and aids the persistence of epidemics. At OUCRU I analyzed the demographic, clinical, and diagnostic data of 726 suspected pediatric TB cases who were enrolled in a two-year study performed at the National Pediatric Hospital. I was responsible for writing a manuscript that describes this study and discusses its findings. My analysis reveals that MODS is significantly more sensitive, and more rapid, than the conventional Lowestein-Jensen culture and Ziehl-Neelsen staining methods. The use of MODS in general pediatric hospitals allows for improved identification of TB meningitis cases that would otherwise fail to receive appropriate treatment. This internship was an incredible opportunity for me to apply the quantitative methods I’ve learned at Princeton while working with experts in epidemiology and tropical medicine. My summer was an exceptionally valuable experience that I cherish as I continue my studies in the field of global health.


Ruth Rosenthal, 2015, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Ruth Rosenthal, 2015

Project: Long-Term Trends in Ocean Chlorophyll Concentrations in Relation to Global Climate Change
Organization/Location: Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS), Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Adviser: Jorge Sarmiento, Professor, Geosciences

This summer, I worked in Princeton's Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) researching long-term trends in ocean chlorophyll data and differing methodologies for examining such trends. Chlorophyll data provides the best tool for scientists to estimate the concentration of phytoplankton in a given area of the ocean. Since phytoplankton form the basis of ocean food webs, it is important to see if their numbers are changing over time, especially since they may be affected by climate change. I utilized chlorophyll data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) and Johns Hopkins University’s Worldwide Ocean Optics Database (WOOD), ranging over 50- and 100-year time spans, to discern long-term trends in chlorophyll concentration. I also examined the reliability of chlorophyll measurements derived from Secchi depths against more precise in situ fluorometer measurements. I did the majority of my computational and mapping analysis in MATLAB, which allowed me to quickly analyze enormous data sets over long time scales and to easily map spatial trends. This research really stimulated my interest in applying my foundational science skills to specific oceanographic or environmental problems, and also showed me how useful computational tools such as MATLAB can be in scientific research.


Elizabeth Sajewski, 2013, Environmental Engineering

Elizabeth Sajewski, 2013

Project: Oxford University Clinical Research Unit: Vietnam /Nepal Typhoid
Organization/Location:
Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Nepal
Adviser: Bryan Grenfell, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Woodrow Wilson School

The goal of my internship was to develop a preliminary assessment of the level of environmental degradation of the Bishnumati River, one of the main rivers and surface water sources for Kathmandu, Nepal. I was also interested in gauging the health risks of polluted river water on the local community, the community’s level of education about these risks, and their level of environmental responsibility and stewardship. To create my assessment, I collected and completed microbiological analyses on water samples, coordinated with local labs to complete physical and chemical analyses, and interviewed health post workers and others about their level of environmental awareness and sense of responsibility. From this data, I created and presented a report detailing the condition of the Bishnumati River. I also made several recommendations for future river rehabilitation and restoration projects. I learned so much about the challenges facing the developing world as rapid urbanization and population growth stress the waste management infrastructure. I was also inspired by the awareness of and enthusiasm for environmental restoration and preservation that pervaded the education system. This gives me hope that these challenges will be met in the future with greater vigor and a greater effort for resolution.


Nicole Sato, 2014, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Nicole Sato, 2014

Project: Crystallization of Small Molecules for Organic Electronic Devices
Organization/Location: Princeton University, Loo Lab, USA
Adviser: Lynn Loo, Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering

This summer, I studied the relationship between crystal structure and device performance in organic field effect transistors. I investigated a small carbon molecule, contorted hexabenzocoronene (HBC), and a few of its fluorinated derivatives for use in organic electronics. My project included two main questions: 1) How do different methods of annealing influence the crystal structure? and 2) how does the crystal structure affect the device performance? In order to research these questions, I learned how to perform several different spectroscopic techniques, which allowed me to study the properties of the different HBC structures. I also learned how to prepare, test and analyze transistors to measure the device performance. We were able to find several correlations between annealing methods, crystal structure and device performance. This internship allowed me to experience a university research environment; I now have a better understanding of the effort, frustration, but also the excitement, that comes along with any research project! This internship has provided me with experience for future academic research and has helped me decide which career path I will pursue.

Akshata Shirahatti, 2014, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Akshata Shirahatti, 2014

Project: Pediatric Tuberculosis
Organization/Location:
Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Vietnam
Advisers: Bryan Grenfell, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Woodrow Wilson School; Jeremy Farrar, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit and Princeton University Global Scholar; Nulda Beyers, Desmond Tutu TB Centre

I spent this summer researching pediatric tuberculosis (TB) from a clinical perspective at The Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) in Vietnam. I was involved in two major clinical studies, both which had the ultimate goal of assisting TB doctors to provide more effective intervention and treatment to reduce mortality from TB. In the first, I independently developed a clinical study to determine major risk factors associated with pediatric TB patients in Vietnam. The findings from this study will provide physicians with information regarding how best to pilot an interventional plan to improve retention and adherence amongst patients. In the second project, I assisted an OUCRU doctor in analyzing data and creating statistical models for his study investigating the most influential symptoms contributing to morality in TB meningitis cases. OUCRU also gave me the opportunity to attend a variety of seminars, PhD courses, and discussions that exposed me to a variety of global health issues and groundbreaking studies being conducted across the world. Having the chance to work at an organization dedicated to infectious disease provided me with incredible insight which has inspired the focus of the independent work that I will pursue my remaining two years at Princeton.


Ryan Shyu, 2013, Economics

Ryan Shyu, 2013

Project: Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy
Organization/Location:
The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, India
Adviser: Ramanan Laxminarayan, Research Scholar, Princeton Environmental Institute

This summer I interned in New Delhi, India with The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy. The overall goal of my work was to do research to help make better anti-malaria public policy in India. My main project consisted of creating a statistical model using sales of antimalarial drugs to help estimate the malaria burden in India. Existing methods for estimating malaria incidence are often unreliable and slow; data on malaria incidence are often produced only after multiple-year lags. On the other hand, data on antimalarial sales are readily available, so such a predictive model would be useful to policymakers not only in estimating the malaria burden more accurately, but also in expediting the estimation process. This project is still in progress and will hopefully be completed soon. I also assisted with other tasks, most notably helping conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis of various anti-malaria public health interventions ranging from treatment with different types of antimalarials to preventative measures such as insecticide-treated bed nets.


Max Silver, 2014, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Max Silver, 2014

Project: Conserving the Endangered Grevy’s Zebra
Organization/Location:
Grevy's Zebra Trust, Kenya
Adviser: Belinda Low, Grevy’s Zebra Trust

I spent the summer in Kenya as an intern with Grevy’s Zebra Trust, a non-profit Kenya-based organization dedicated to conserving the endangered species of Grevy’s zebra. My time in Kenya was divided between working in an office at Mpala Research Center and field work in the Samburu Heartland, a remote region in north-central Kenya. In Samburu, I helped install a new water monitoring project, through which we made water more accessible to wildlife across Samburu during its dry season, when water is a limited resource for much of the wildlife. I also helped spread awareness to local community members about the importance of conserving wildlife, with emphasis on Grevy’s zebra. My office work centered around analyzing data that recorded Grevy’s zebra sightings in Samburu. This data included the sexual class of each member of the herd, their habitat, and other details about the sighting such as what, if any, wildlife or livestock they were seen with. I then analyzed this data using the statistical software program JMP, with the goal of better understanding what we can do to contribute to a more viable Grevy’s zebra population. I plan to return to Kenya next summer to conduct further research on zebras that will form the basis for my senior thesis.


Alan Southworth, 2014, Geosciences

Alan Southworth, 2014

Project: Urban Agriculture Fellow with The Food Project
Organization/Location:
The Food Project, Boston, Massachusetts
Adviser: Rob Burns, The Food Project

During my time as a fellow with The Food Project, I took an active role in combating global food system issues on a local level. Consistent with this idea, I had diverse tasks including: interacting with and leading youth in fieldwork and harvest, directly donating fresh produce to hunger relief organizations, cooking with interns to prepare for “Veggie of the Week” contests, running a weekly farmer’s market stand, and participating in educational workshops for the youth. Each task had a strong component of youth, food, and community, which gave my work relevance within the overall goals of the organization. This relevance promoted a positive learning environment where I discovered everything from how to trellis tomato plants to how I, personally, could be a better leader based on the types of people with whom I work; from how to distinguish three different types of eggplant to what the food priorities of inner city teenagers are. Moving forward, regardless of what field I enter, I now know that I want to be working in a transparent, social environment where I am able to express new ideas and feedback to my coworkers.


Levi Stanton, 2015, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Levi Stanton, 2015

Project: Development and Field Testing of an Open-Path 8 μm Quantum Cascade Laser Methane Sensor
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Mark Zondlo, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

My internship with MIRTHE focused on the development of an 8-micron mid-infrared quantum cascade laser system for the sensing of methane. This sensor will ultimately serve as a field-deployed system in Toolik Lake, Alaska where permafrost thaw is releasing large amounts of methane. Methane, a greenhouse gas that has 25 times the global warming potential of CO2 over a 100-year period, is being released from the permafrost and is contributing to global temperature increase, creating a positive feedback cycle that results in further melting of permafrost. After doing preliminary field deployments in the Princeton area, we brought the laser system to the Toolik Lake Field Station in the Alaskan Arctic. We successfully took measurements at total path distances up to 1.2 km and were able to maintain detection in severe weather conditions, including high winds, heavy rain, and even snow. This project greatly impacted my studies in the CEE department. I will be working in Professor Zondlo's lab this year, which creates an excellent opportunity for me to extend my research a second year, and apply it to my Junior Independent Project.


Andrew Stella, 2013, Chemical Engineering

Andrew Stella, 2013

Project: Using Carbonaceous Electrodes with High Viscosity Electrolytes for Stable Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Ilhan Aksay, Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering

It is commonly cited by solar power advocates that the rate of energy incident on Earth's surface from the sun outpaces our global consumption by several orders of magnitude. So why then aren't solar panels ubiquitous? One reason is cost. The subject of my internship with the Ceramic Materials Lab, the dye-sensitized solar cell, is a relatively young and promising solution. From an energy challenge viewpoint, the goal of my research was to help both decrease the cost and increase the lifetime of these devices through component engineering. With this motivation in mind my time was spent assembling cells, running electrochemical tests on those cells, analyzing data, and reading literature in order to guide my research steps. I spent the first half of my internship developing a procedure to make high efficiency baseline cells, and then moved to testing cells with carbonaceous counter electrodes (lower cost) and stable electrolytes (extended lifetime). The combination of components I used in a single cell was unprecedented, and thus the data I gathered and analyzed is uniquely useful in addressing this energy challenge. I plan to work in materials science and this experience taught me many techniques and skills essential to the discipline.


Chengyue Sun, 2013, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Chengyue Sun, 2013

Project: Photochemistry at Manganese Oxide Doped Zinc Oxide Surfaces for Production of Renewable Hydrogen
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Bruce Koel, Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering

This summer I conducted research in Professor Koel's group on the photocatalysis of water using manganese oxide doped zinc oxide nanoparticles as a co-catalyst. This project has the potential to provide new and more effective catalysts for the synthesis of hydrogen gas. Previous experiments were conducted on the topic, but only with a low manganese oxide content of about 5% to 10%; I investigated the effect of increasing the manganese oxide content to 50%. I synthesized nanoparticles via different routes, analyzed the products using surface science techniques and studied their performance using a three-electrode photoelectrochemical (PEC) cell. Through this interhsip I learned techniques on the synthesis of nanoparticles and on how to operate the machines used for surface science analysis. Working with Professor Koel's group has been a great experience.


Aleksandra Szczuka, 2014, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Aleksandra Szczuka, 2014

Project: Effect of High CO2 on Photosynthesis and Growth in Marine Phytoplankton
Organization/Location:
Department of Geosciences, Morel Lab, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Advisers: François Morel, Professor, Geosciences; Jodi Young, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Geosciences; Xan Yu, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Geosciences

The goal of my internship at the Morel lab was to determine the effect of pH and temperature changes on the activity of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase. Carbonic anhydrase catalyzes the inter-conversion of carbon dioxide and bicarbonate, helping adjust the level of carbon dioxide within a cell. The activity of this enzyme depends on outside factors, and ultimately influences, for example, the cell’s growth rate. Being a metalloenzyme, carbonic anhydrase activity additionally depends on the concentration levels of metals such as zinc. During the summer, I isolated two forms of the enzyme, CdCA and TWCA1, grown at different metal concentrations, and attempted to measure the activity of each under different pH and temperature conditions. By attempting to isolate active protein several times, I gained insight into the quirks of environmental research and became aware of how to isolate, purify, and quantify protein. This internship introduced me to the many possibilities of environmental research, and put me on an academic and career path that will center around understanding humans’ effect on the environment.


Tyler Tamasi, 2015 Chemistry

Tyler Tamasi, 2015 Chemistry

Project: Rainwater Collection and Analysis in New Jersey
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Daniel Sigman, Professor, Geosciences

As an intern with the Sigman Group in the Geosciences department at Princeton University, I focused on collecting and analyzing the nitrogen species (primarily NH4+) in New Jersey rainwater and compared my results with data collected from Bermuda rainwater. During my summer experience, I took part in two research cruises from Bermuda and used a plethora of field techniques to better understand the chemistry of air and sea. From hauling plankton nets and taking water samples from the deep Sargasso Sea to measuring minute ammonium concentrations and filtering Bermuda air, I began to elucidate the interplay between pollution in New Jersey rainwater and its effects on Bermuda rain. I gained insight into many aspects of geochemistry by attending lectures by renowned scientists and collaborating with established researchers both in the field and at Princeton. My knowledge of the chemistry that governs global processes has grown exponentially over the course of this summer. As I am planning to major in chemistry, with the goal of impacting alternative energy technologies and environmental issues, being able to collaborate with individuals that understand so much of the earth’s chemical systems has created a framework of possibilities for my future research.


Jocelyn Tang, 2014, Computer Science

Jocelyn Tang, 2014

Project: Pediatric Tuberculosis
Organization/Location:
Desmond Tutu TB Centre, South Africa
Advisers: Bryan Grenfell, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Woodrow Wilson School; Jeremy Farrar, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit and Princeton University Global Scholar; Nulda Beyers, Desmond Tutu TB Centre

During my internship at the Desmond Tutu TB Centre I performed a variety of tasks ranging from updating the website to designing plans for the renovation of the centre. I also helped to develop standard procedures for media documentation, maintain the Facebook and Twitter sites, and create a Wikipedia page. I also helped generate the annual report for the centre by writing articles, compiling necessary documents, making edits, designing the layout, and publishing the report. I also had the opportunity to observe field work, and I was able to visit a township in Khayelitsha as well as the Brooklyn Chest Hospital. I participated in a few research projects involving health care procedures for the PopART (Population Antiretroviral Treatment); I examined data to analyze and predict factors that cause patients to discontinue participating in studies in which they are enrolled. By reading through many reports and writing my own, I learned a lot about health issues in South Africa, particularly tuberculosis. Some of the research projects showed me how I could apply computer science to medicine, and the internship elucidated how I could combine my major with my interest in developing countries.


Amy Tourgee, 2014, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Amy Tourgee, 2014

Project: Climate Change and Wildlife in Agricultural Landscapes
Organization/Location: Environmental Defense Fund, Washington, D.C.
Adviser: Stacy Small-Lorenz, Environmental Defense Fund

This past summer, I was an intern on the Land, Water, Wildlife team at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in Washington, D.C. EDF works to conserve ecosystems by preserving land, protecting wildlife and restoring rivers and wetlands. Specifically, I worked with my adviser on a climate change vulnerability assessment of vertebrates in the corn belt states. The analysis included over 200 species between two states and the results spanned five different vulnerability levels. One of my tasks was to interpret the results by creating graphs and drawing a comparison of vulnerabilities between the species of the two states. Additionally, I worked with my adviser to use the results to incorporate climate change into the revision of state policy plans dealing with wildlife. Working at EDF was truly a transformative experience, as I was working at the forefront of environmental advocacy. Because EDF is at the intersection of science, policy and economics, I learned, as a scientist, how to incorporate elements of politics and economics into environmental reform.


Evaline Tsai, 2015, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Evaline Tsai, 2015

Project: Sustainable Concrete
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: George Scherer, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Amy Soli, Stony Brook Millstone Watershed

Because the production of cement contributes to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, there is a need to find replacements for cement used in concrete manufacturing. This summer, I studied the interactions between fly ash, a promising secondary cementitious material (SCM), and air entraining agents (AEAs), useful additives that provide frost resistance to concrete, to determine the different performances of the AEAs, and to understand how the amalgamation of these different compounds affected each other. I made AEA/fly ash samples for later Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) studies, used optical microscopy to see how AEAs interacted with calcium, and operated thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) to confirm the formation of air voids. This internship has allowed me to learn a lot more about the research process required in graduate school. Realizing the far-reaching effects each research project can have on saving the environment, I am determined to pursue certificates in Environmental Studies and/or Sustainable Energy at Princeton. I am now more excited than ever to continue conducting research during the coming summers.

Sophie Tyack, 2013 Classics

Sophie Tyack, 2013 Classics

Project: Coliform source tracking on Peddie Lake, and characterization of Washington stream restoration
Organization/Location:
Stony Brook-MIllstone Watershed Association, Pennington, New Jersey
Advisers: Eileen Zerba, Senior Lecturer, Princeton Environmental Institute; Amy Soli, Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association

I worked with Princeton University and the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association to help design a program (dubbed the Harry's Brook "Retain the Rain" project) to reduce stormwater management problems in Harry's Brook that cause flooding, streambank erosion, and water quality issues. After doing some initial research on nonstructural stormwater management methods such as rain barrels, rain gardens, and green roofs, I created informational brochures and flyers to help educate residents in the Harry's Brook Watershed about these options. I also met with experts from the Water Resources Program at Rutgers and visited existing rain gardens in the Princeton area. In addition, I helped orchestrate a public meeting about the program, and attended several events such as the weekly Princeton Farmer's Market and the Watershed's Butterfly Day, where I helped publicize the project and educate visitors by having a rain barrel on hand that kids could help decorate. Throughout the course of the summer, I learned all about nonstructural stormwater management methods and how important it is to properly manage stormwater runoff. In addition, I gained experience with public education and outreach, as a large part of the project was figuring out the best ways to get the community involved.


Cynthia Wang, 2014 Molecular Biology

Cynthia Wang, 2014

Project: Molecular Epidemiology of Drug Resistance Mutations of the Hepatitis B Virus in Ho Chi Minh City
Organization/Location:
Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU), Vietnam
Adviser: Motiur Rahman, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit

My summer project at the OUCRU in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, involved researching the molecular epidemiology of drug resistance mutations in the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Vietnam has one of the highest rates of chronic HBV infection in the world, and the genotype distribution of HBV amongst the Vietnamese people has not yet been well characterized. During my internship, I isolated HBV genomes in samples from HBV positive patients, and then determined genotypes through sequencing analysis. An understanding of HBV strain genotypes is useful in determining patient response to therapy, disease progression, and disease outcome. From this research experience, I learned laboratory techniques of sequencing, as well as different data analysis techniques to map drug resistance mutations of HBV strains. I found my time at OUCRU to be very rewarding because it deepened my interest in global health studies, particularly infectious diseases in Southeast Asia.


Jason Warrington, 2013, Politics

Jason Warrington, 2013

Project: D&R Greenway Trust: Environmental Stewardship
Organization/Location: D&R Greenway Land Trust, Princeton, NJ
Adviser: James Amon, D&R Greenway Trust

During my time at D&R Greenway I worked as an environmental stewardship intern. The purpose of my internship was to learn how to take care of preserved habitats in ways that encourage the propagation of native flora and fauna. I spent most of my time outside, working on various projects ranging from maintaining and creating recreational trails, to controlling the spread of invasive species, to monitoring conservation easements. The nature of my work was fairly physical as it involved a lot of walking and use of hand tools, but it was a nice change of pace from a typical desk job. Spending so much time in the natural world, through this internship helped me gain a deeper respect and appreciation for the environment. While I may not pursue this particular avenue of environmental work, this internship was instrumental in helping solidify my interest in pursuing an environmentally-focused career after graduating from Princeton.

Nick White, 2013, Math

Nick White, 2013

Project: Characterization of the South Atlantic Ocean Circulation in Climate Models
Organization/Location: Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, NJ
Adviser: Gabriel Vecchi, Lecturer, Geosciences

I spent the summer working with Dr. Rym Msadek at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The main goal of my project was to characterize the circulation in the South Atlantic, a region which is not well understood in oceanography. We also did some analysis of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (the "conveyer belt" that is depicted in diagrams of world oceanic circulation). The ocean and atmosphere are extremely complex systems, and even a small change in temperature at some point can affect the weather thousands of miles away. So even a small improvement in our understanding of the South Atlantic can be useful in climate science everywhere. We used GFDL computer models of the world's climate to conduct the research. This internship was a great introduction both to climate science and to life in government research organizations. I gained a deeper understanding of ocean mechanics and obtained additional data analysis skills.


Lauren Wyman, 2014, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Lauren Wyman, 2014

Project: Investigating the Role of Fungal Pathogen Batrachochytritium Dendrobatidis in Amphibians Extinctions in Peru
Organization/Location:
Wayqecha Biological Research Station, operated by the Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuena Amazonica, Peru
Advisers: Alessandro Catenazzi and Vance Vrendenburg, San Francisco State University

As a research assistant on a project studying chytrid fungus, I helped to identify and analyze the factors that contribute to its spread and virulence in amphibian populations. Chytrid is a fungal pathogen that infects the keratin in amphibian skin, and has been diminishing frog populations throughout the world for over ten years. The impacts of chytrid are especially pronounced in the Peruvian cloud forests, where the cool temperatures and year long water supply provide an ample environment for the spread of the fungus. Stationed in the cloud forest for two and a half months, several researchers and I caught frogs throughout the area, swabbed them for the fungus and performed susceptibility trials in which we monitored the vulnerability of eight different frog species to the disease. I gained insight into what field work entails and how to design and implement experiments, and especially how to problem-solve when things do not go exactly as planned. This internship reconfirmed my choice to be an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major. I can’t wait to get back to the field!


Mengyi Xu, 2014, The Woodrow Wilson School

Mengyi Xu, 2014

Project: The Diffusion of International Environmental Institutions
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Robert Keohane, Professor, Woodrow Wilson School

I had the wonderful opportunity to work closely with Professor Keohane on a project that focused on "The Ethics of Communicating Uncertainty in Climate Change." I was mainly charged with conducting literature reviews and finding relevant materials on the topic that would help the professor and his two co-authors gain a firmer understanding of the complexities of the issue. From this internship, I was able to acquire very critical analytical skills and gain familiarity with social science research strategies. I benefitted tremendously from reading literature across various disciplines such as philosophy, communications theories, climate change science, and uncertainty theories. This experience offered me valuable perspectives on how policy makers and scientists can and should collaborate on generating solutions to address complex global issues. It also convinced me that my interest in international affairs really lies at the intersection of health, environmental sustainability, intercultural communication, and international law.


Iris Zhou, 2013, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Iris Zhou, 2013

Project: The Role of Rainfall and Fire in Demographic Limitation of Tree Cover in Savannas
Organization/Location: Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Adviser: Simon Levin, Professor Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

The goal of my project was to determine whether a model developed by my adviser accurately predicts the growth dynamics of savanna versus forest trees in regions of intermediate rainfall. My main task this summer was to do a thorough literature review of all long-term studies that measured growth over time of individual savanna and forest trees. I contributed to this project by finding and cataloging all studies that met our criteria and by pulling out growth data from these papers. The data that I collected will be used for a meta-analysis to parametrize my adviser’s model and to see whether it works. From this internship experience, I learned a lot about the rigors of doing research. In particular, I now have a profound respect for all types of scientific publication. Having done data entry myself, I now appreciate how much effort goes into producing the simplest graph or diagram. In addition, I learned a lot about savanna fires and the differences between savanna and forest trees. While this internship did not change my career plans since I had already declared my major and general career direction, it definitely provided me with important insights into academic work.


Sheng Zhou, 2014, Chemistry

 Sheng Zhou, 2014

Project: Polymer Coatings for Iron and Iron Oxide Nanoparticles for Enhanced Mobility
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Bruce Koel, Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering

My work with the Koel group on iron-coated nanoparticles focused on optimizing aqueous transport methods. These nanoparticles have been shown to be able to bioremediate groundwater by becoming food for bacteria that can render heavy metals such as uranium immobile in groundwater. However, often the nanoparticles are not able to move through soil due to their charge. My project involved coating iron nanoparticles with polymers to enhance transport through soil. I worked with a post-doc on the project and together characterized polymer PAA6K’s iron nanoparticles transport properties. I gained experience using a spectrophotometer, TOC analyzer, and Zetasizer in addition to designing experiments. My main responsibilities involved creating suspensions and controlling for the pH of different solutions. I also synthesized iron nanoparticles and measured how well bacteria responded to polymer coated nanoparticles. I am a Chemistry major and this experience provided me with valuable lab experience ahead of my junior paper.


Sheng Zhou, 2014 Chemistry

Sheng Zhou, 2014

Project: Medical AIDS Outreach of Alabama GROW internship
Organization/Location:
Medical AIDS Outreach of Alabama, Inc., Montgomery, Alabama
Adviser: Adel Mahmoud, Professor, Molecular Biology and Public Policy, Woodrow Wilson School

My summer internship was an extension of my involvement with a student-run nonprofit, GlobeMed at Princeton University. My project was part of the GrassRoots Onsite Work (GROW) Internship program of GlobeMed at Princeton’s partnership with Medical AIDS Outreach (MAO). I worked with Amy Li ’14 to conduct a survey of Alabama college students on their perceptions of HIV/AIDS and testing. We also worked on developing our relationship with MAO by interviewing different employees in the organization to understand the inner workings of a nonprofit. I worked largely with the education department and taught safe sex essentials in the community. This opportunity opened my eyes to the lack of healthcare for rural populations, and the importance of innovative technologies such as telemedicine. More importantly, it highlighted that healthcare is at the intersection of social understanding and scientific exploration. In the South, the problem lies not in HIV/AIDS drug discovery but within a myriad of social and policy problems largely arising from poverty and ignorance. I hope to apply these lessons to future work in health and medicine.