By addressing large-scale problems we're cultivating stronger communities and better lives. Students selected for this program work side-by-side world-class researchers in the field of sustainability, and shape the future—for themselves and the environment. All IUB majors; aimed at first- and second-year undergraduate students.
Applications for the 2023-2024 cohort are closed. Applications for the 2024-2025 cohort will open in late summer 2024.
Questions? Contact IPE Associate Director Elspeth Hayden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet our recent Scholars
Browse through the slideshow to meet recent Sustainability Scholars and to learn more about their research projects.
Redefine your classroom
Students selected as Sustainability Scholars will receive a $500 scholarship each semester, based on successful work with their assigned mentor. Students are required to:
Engage in 8-10 hours per week of research with their assigned mentor
Attend the Sustainability Scholars orientation
Begin meeting with their mentor mid-fall semester through the end of the spring semester
Create an approved research work plan in collaboration with an assigned faculty mentor by the conclusion of the fall term
Enroll in the 2-credit hour Sustainability Scholars course for the spring semester
Open the door to your future
With the Sustainability Scholars program, the door of sustainability is opened for new and exciting possibilities at IU and beyond.
2023-2024 Research Project Details
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Fan Chen Assistant Professor, Intelligent Systems Engineering Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering
Project Description: Machine learning has seen extensive application in consumer and business domains, utilizing foundation models like GPT, DALL-E, and Stable Diffusion. These models, trained on massive amounts of raw data, can be adapted to various interdisciplinary tasks. However, the widespread use of large-scale models in information technology raises concerns about escalating computational costs, particularly in terms of their carbon footprint. The carbon footprint represents greenhouse gas emissions, which have adverse environmental consequences for local and global ecosystems. This not only hampers the adoption of social computing but also poses risks to the well-being of future generations. To address this issue, technology companies are actively reducing the carbon footprint of their data centers through investments in renewable energy generation and participation in power purchase agreements. These efforts allow them to earn credit for mitigating their environmental impact.
In this project, our goal is to gather information from public sources on trends in machine learning model scaling, large-scale model training methods, and the energy consumption of user tasks (both operational and embodied). By analyzing this data, we will provide guidance for data centers to strike a balance between model accuracy, processing latency, and carbon emissions, ultimately optimizing solutions for carbon-free data center operations.
We will invite the Sustainability Scholar to our weekly research meetings with senior graduate students. We will provide training to the Sustainability Scholar on the following tasks. 1) Reading and reviewing research papers: Developing skills to critically evaluate and analyze scientific literature. 2) Formulating hypotheses and conducting experiments: Understanding the process of hypothesis generation and experimental design. 3) Analyzing experimental results: Acquiring the ability to interpret and analyze data obtained from experiments. 4) Synthesizing and communicating scientific results: Developing proficiency in presenting scientific findings through oral narratives, graphs, tables, and writing research papers.
Desired Skills and Interests: Strong reading and writing skills. Proficiency in Google and Excel. Excellent communication and responsibility. Good organizational skills and file management. Independent work capability and task completion. Some familiarity with machine learning and computer engineering would be an asset, but not required.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Vivek Astvansh Adjunct Professor, Data Science Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering
Project Description: Companies routinely make statements about their sustainability goals. Theoretically, these sustainability goals can be framed in terms of promotion of benefits, prevention of costs, or both. Which framing does the public like more and why? The proposed research answers this theoretically interesting and managerially consequential question. Specifically, we will source U.S. public companies’ sustainability statements and score them on prevention focus and promotion focus. We document the overall trend in framing. Next, using these statements, we create two types of stylistic framing statements: one promoting benefits, and the other preventing costs. We recruit individuals as participants in an experiment and randomly assign the participants to the two stylized statements. We measure their evaluations to the statements and thus provide evidence on which framing the public likes more. Lastly, we measure the psychological mechanisms that underlies this result.
Desired skills and interests: Psychology interest, coursework, and/or major
Project Description: What are the biggest challenges facing journalists who report about environmental issues? What are the biggest opportunities? This project examines how environmental news gets made and shared. As climate change becomes an ever-pressing reality for most Americans, accurate and timely reporting on environmental issues is more important than ever. And yet news organizations rarely devote a lot of resources to covering this topic. This project uses interviews with working environmental journalists to better illuminate the economic, social and technological constraints on producing quality reporting on environmental issues.
Desired skills and interests: The ideal scholar will be interested in journalism, media, and/or communication more broadly. The scholar could be involved in soliciting and scheduling interviews and could sit in on interviews and/or analyze interview transcripts as part of the project. Lastly, the scholar should be organized, curious, and willing to learn.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nathan Ensmenger Associate Professor, Informatics Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering
Project Description: The digital economy is water-driven. A typical data center requires hundreds of thousands of gallons of fresh water a day to operate; a single semiconductor fabrication facility requires millions. Such consumption patterns stretch the limits of almost any municipal water supply, and given the looming global shortage of clean water, water scarcities represent one of the many unanticipated consequences of computing whose implications are only just beginning to be realized. The $52 billion CHIPS act recently passed by the Biden administration is aimed at developing several new semiconductor fabrication facilities in the United States, at least of one which will be located in Arizona. In this project, we will explore the potential implications of water-use on the communities located by these new facilities.
Desired skills and interests: Strong Google-f and experience with Excel are a must, some familiarity with R and ARC-GIS would be an asset, but not required.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Clark Barwick Teaching Professor, Business Communication Kelley School of Business
Project Description: Historically, coffee has only been able to grow in the equatorial belt between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. However, climate change threatens to radically adjust global coffee production. Some impacts are predictable: coffee plants may not be able to grow in elevated temperatures, thereby displacing communities (often impoverished and already marginalized), whose economies and cultures have been connected to coffee for centuries. Other outcomes are less predictable, especially given rapid developments in technology and agricultural sciences as well as geo-political uncertainties. As a food studies scholar and an expert on the global coffee trade, I invite a Sustainability Scholar to work with me as I spend the next year analyzing published coffee-related data and trends regarding climate change and ongoing efforts to make global coffee production sustainable and equitable. While I plan to assess global trends, I am happy to have the student focus on a specific continent, country or local geography, if they have a particular passion or academic interest.
Desired skills and interests: A willingness to learn the basic history, economics, and science of coffee, which will be necessary at the beginning of the project. Creativity and an excitement for problem-solving. I will teach the student necessary research skills. This project is open to any major. The student does not need to be a coffee drinker.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alex Jahn Assistant Research Scientist, Department of Biology College of Arts + Sciences
Project Description: This project seeks to understand whether measuring plumage color is useful to assess how birds are responding to rapid changes, such as urbanization and climate change. Previous studies have shown that some birds can signal their condition and health (e.g., immune condition and infection status) through plumage coloration, which allows birds to be used as sentinels of environmental change. Photos of the feathers have already been collected by taking standardized photographs of birds we capture as part of a larger study, so the scholar’s primary activities will be to 1) use software (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ImageJ) to measure the extent of the color of individual bird’s feathers in the photos, 2) analyze the data to test hypotheses related to whether plumage color indicates the condition of the bird; we have already collected data on whether each bird is infected, e.g. with avian malaria, and 3) prepare the results for presentation. Expected outcomes by spring is a test of hypotheses on whether plumage color may indicate a bird’s condition (e.g., whether plumage color indicates infection status or breeding condition in different contexts).
Desired skills and interests: We are searching for applicants who are willing to spend numerous hours in front of a screen to do digital mapping of each bird’s feather color, which will require attention to detail and a willingness to do a task repeatedly. Applicants should be interested in learning basic statistics. The mentor will provide training for the mapping technique, as well as with statistical data analysis. Applicants should also have an interest in understanding how environmental change may impact wildlife health.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Justin Greaves Assistant Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health School of Public Health
Project Description: Several studies are currently predicting the increase of vector borne diseases, such as West Nile virus and zika virus, in certain areas with increasing temperatures worldwide. However, most surveillance studies have focused on testing the vectors without relating these findings back to the health of the populations. Wastewater surveillance is a unique inexpensive tool which can relate vector borne diseases to the health of a population without the need for individual testing of humans or the vectors. It also has the potential to provide information at the larger scale on several different types of vector borne diseases. Currently, wastewater surveillance has not been widely used for the monitoring of vector borne diseases even though there has been a significant rise in cases of these diseases. Our study seeks to evaluate the applicability of wastewater surveillance for West Nile virus in the Bloomington region. Key tasks that the undergraduate researcher will assist with are (1) collections of wastewater samples across the city and Monroe county; (2) sample processing which includes concentration, DNA/RNA extraction, and viral detection; (3) and development of unique collaborations with environmental management and health agencies to address the increasing problem of vector borne diseases. Expected outcomes include data on prevalence of vector borne viruses throughout the Bloomington region and seasonal variability of vector borne viruses.
Desired skills and interests: We are looking for applicants who are interested in working in the field and the lab. Applicants should have excellent writing skills, desire to learn quantitative techniques, and ability to work collaboratively in groups.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. André Franco Assistant Professor O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Project Description: Soils are the most species rich habitat on Earth, accounting for approximately 500 million species or 59% of the global biodiversity. Soil biologists are faced with the daunting – but urgent – task of surveying belowground biodiversity and making conservation policy recommendations to governments and industry. But currently, collecting data about soil biodiversity is dependent on tremendous amounts of manual data annotation, often taking years for microscope identification of thousands of individual organisms such as nematodes and earthworms in a single project. This bottleneck precludes real-time applications, and often delays critical answers to conservation questions so long that by the time they are available, they are no longer relevant. Machine learning is poised to break this annotation logjam, and to greatly accelerate conservation decision-making. This research seeks to apply machine learning tools to microscope images to accelerate soil ecologists’ workflows. We will use deep learning classification techniques to speed up the counting and identification of organisms, as well as measurements of their body sizes from microscope images. This information will enable better and timely conservation decisions about managing soil resources in a sustainable manner, what is key to preserve the life of the land for today and the future.
Desired skills and interests: The selected undergraduate researcher will work on (1) acquiring and annotating microscope images, (2) training the deep learning models (3) data analyses and write-up. Applicants should have experience with basic data science, computer vision, and machine learning. The undergraduate will gain hands-on research experience and knowledge that is especially suited for those interested in data science and in pursuing a career in AI applications for nature conservation.
Project Description: Community gardens are tied to local resilience and are touted as a sustainable response to the industrial food system. Gardens foster cooperation, cultural sensitivity, commune with nature, and alternative ways of knowing about one’s food supply. They also address the effects of a changing climate through sustainable soil management, organic growing, and resilience to supply chain disruptions. The Sustainability Scholar will work to answer two questions: (1) how do community gardens support community needs? And (2) how does the Healing Garden at Hilltop strengthen IUs Climate Action Plan?
The student will split their time between (1) working hands-on in the Healing Garden (www.healinggardeniub.com) and with partners, such as the First Nations Center, to help develop and implement embodied learning workshops; (2) assist in implementing a Bike Tour among local gardens, farmsteads, and farm stands, and (3) research the impact of the Healing Garden at IU. As lower energy solutions, gardening and biking open doors to higher quality of life. By evaluating the accessibility of existing bike paths and surveying local motivators for engaging with community gardens, we develop a system that maintains collective engagement. By incorporating community celebrations, such as biking to farms and garden picnics, as habits, we encourage consistent climate action while diffusing powerlessness and social isolation.
Desired Skills and Interests: The ideal Sustainability Scholar is interested in creative approaches to sustainability and climate change mitigation, with skills in both traditional research (reading and synthesizing scientific papers) and community-based research (storytelling, community outreach, public scholarship). The student should also demonstrate an interest in learning mapping tools, such as GIS, to implement the goals of the project.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Lau Professor, Department of Biology College of Arts + Sciences Staff Mentor: Jordan Ziss Research Technician, Department of Biology
Project Description: The world is changing rapidly. Heat waves and droughts are becoming more frequent, while nutrient pollution is increasing. Whether plant populations will be able to survive these changes will depend on plants’ ability to cope with those conditions, migrate to new environments, or adapt. The Lau Lab investigates these possibilities. The fellow will work with the Lau lab on a greenhouse experiment to answer one of the following questions: 1) Have plants evolved in response to global changes? 2) Can plant phenotypic plasticity (the ability to shift traits in response to the environment) buffer plants from climate variability? 3) Can bet-hedging buffer plants from climate variability (e.g., bet-hedging can take many forms, including increased seed dormancy so not all seeds germinate in a single year)? By January, students will have data in hand that can then be analyzed during the spring semester in preparation for spring and summer poster presentations and conferences.
Desired skills and interests: Interest in ecology, botany, or global change biology. Careful attention to detail and good organizational skills to keep track of the hundreds of samples that will be used in the described experiment.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Luis Chaves Associate Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health School of Public Health
Project Description: Recent decades have seen an increase in the number of invasive species getting stablished throughout the US. In this project we want to understand which environmental factors are associated with the presence of invasive mosquito species in Bloomington. To answer that question, we have set different types of mosquito sampling traps and weather sensors at several locations within the IU Campus farm and the teaching preserve. We have collected samples starting from late spring this year. To continue this project during the fall we are looking for a student interested in learning about mosquitoes, whose tasks might include going to the field to collect mosquito samples, processing samples in the laboratory (mosquito identification), and/or processing environmental data from weather sensors, weather stations and satellite images.
Desired skills and interests: Applicants for this project should enjoy routinely going to the field and do careful work manipulating insect samples and/or have an ability for detailed observation using a dissection scope to separate mosquito species and/or have some experience programming and processing data using computers. At the end of this program students will generate a map of the presence of invasive vectors at selected sites of the IU Bloomington campus, and/or a quantitative analysis of the weather variables associated with the presence/abundance of different invasive mosquito species present in Bloomington.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sara Commodore Assistant Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health School of Public Health
Project Description: This year’s wildfire season has been alarming to many, particularly due to its impact on air quality. We have witnessed the smoky/hazy skies and the smell of smoke in the air. Wildfire smoke contains particulate matter (PM) which can penetrate the lower airways and cause inflammation in the lungs (local effect). These particles can enter circulation and lead to systemic inflammation. These fine particles can even cross the blood brain barrier.
In the short term cough, headache, scratchy throat, watery eyes, wheezing and shortness of breath can occur. In the long term, there can be reduced lung function, some may see asthma exacerbations, and ultimately premature death. Even more concerning is that emerging literature is pointing to the fact that exposure to PM2.5 and chemicals in wildfire smoke are correlated with an increased risk of cancer of all types.
To protect one’s health during a bad wildfire season and beyond, you can check the current air quality in your area by going to https://www.airnow.gov/wildfires/when-smoke-is-in-the-air/ or download the smoke sense app by the US EPA. What if we had our own campus alert system for joggers, outdoor workers, cyclists, etc?
For this sustainability project, we are looking for students who are interested in:
Helping identify a location where we can place an air pollution monitor
Generating summary data and graphs every week to identify any trends
Analyzing filter data to assess chemical species in the air (1-3 are expected outcomes by the Spring Semester)
Assisting with the development of an App to alert the IUB community when there is a fire event (or other air pollution related events) that the community can avoid exposures to.
Desired skills and interest: This is a long term project and students can help with:
Identifying suitable locations for placing an air quality monitor.
Working in R to look at data trends
Working with a chemist to look at different species collected on the air pollution monitor
For those who are tech savvy, they can come up with a way to generate an app so anyone interested can download it and receive alerts…but this is a long term vision. We can work with computer science department and informatic folks to make this a reality.
Graduate Mentor: Emma Boehm Department of Biology Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Lau Professor, Department of Biology College of Arts + Sciences
Project Description: The Lau Lab investigates how plants respond to climate change, and for this project, we will be focusing on two native winter annual sister species: Blue-Eyed Mary and Violet Blue-Eyed Mary. These sister species require specific temperature cues to transition across life stages and have been experiencing recent population declines, making them interesting candidates to address questions surrounding climate change. This project will focus on using herbarium specimens (i.e., dried plants collected in previous years) to track broad-scale changes in flowering phenology and other relevant traits over both time and space in these sister species. Previous studies have shown climate change may cause plants to flower earlier and create potential timing mismatches with tree leaf out and pollinators. Because these specimens are collected from across the United States, we will also be able to generally compare key regional and environmental differences that may affect population persistence across both species' ranges. This project will contribute to understanding how susceptible these species may be to climate change and to aid conservation efforts.
The undergraduate researcher will 1) compile a dataset from herbarium specimens and climate databases 2) generate both quantitative and qualitative data from herbarium specimens using online software 3) investigate the status of the corresponding populations using additional databases and/or contacting local land managers 4) analyze results. The student will also have an opportunity to use their complied dataset to ask additional questions and assist with growth chamber work if they are interested.
Desired skills and interest: Applicants should generally be interested in plants and/or climate change. Enthusiasm and willingness to learn are the only required qualifications.
Project Description: I have collected a large sample of US adults (in June 2020) who reported on how much a) hope and b) despair they had about climate change, and how much action they planned to take over the next three months. They also completed open-ended responses in which they indicated what made them feel a) hope and b) despair about climate change. With my collaborator Shahzeen Attari and others, we conducted an initial exploration of these results and found that on average, people who felt more hope were more engaged with climate, but interestingly, people who felt more despair were also more engaged with climate. In the proposed project, we are planning to follow up on this and examine whether the relationship between these emotions and engagement might depend on what people feel hopeful or despairing about. Specifically, we propose that when people feel hopeful that there is nothing serious to worry about, they will be less willing to act on climate change, while when they feel hopeful about them personally making a difference they will be more willing. Similarly, we will look into the effects of despair. For comparison purposes, we will also look at similar data on COVID-19 to see whether patterns are similar.
The undergraduate Sustainability Scholar for this project would work as part of a team to examine the data and help code the open-ended responses discussing what made each participant feel hopeful and despairing about climate change and COVID-19 (in 2020). By the end of the project in the Spring, I expect that a) all of these open-ended responses have been coded, b) we have examined whether some categories of hope and despair are associated with engagement more so than others, and c) we have preliminary conclusions that could be presented at the Sustainability Symposium.
Desired skills and interest: A successful Sustainability Scholar for this project would a) be interested in learning about how other people feel about climate change (and how they felt about COVID-19 during the height of the pandemic), b) have persistence and attention to detail, and c) enjoy a project that involves a balance of teamwork and solitary work.
Project Description: As one researcher has suggested, sustainability is “a question of value, a notion that is situated within the context of an individual, organizational and community perspective.” As the Kelley School, in conjunction with its new Institute for Environmental and Social Sustainability (IESS) and prompted by Indiana University’s Shared Goal on Sustainability Literacy, commits to elevate sustainability and climate teaching throughout the curriculum, assessment of best practices and the efficacy of these pedagogical interventions is warranted. Significantly, does this teaching and the other co-curricular initiatives appear to be focused on values, preparing students to be solution-focused, or merely on managing risk to the profitable enterprise?
The student researcher will survey sustainability and climate teaching by business schools in like institutions at the undergraduate, graduate, and executive education levels, as well as co-curricular initiatives. Information may include: whether majors, minors, or certificates are offered and the content focus of each? In other words, which departments or areas of inquiry are involved (i.e., finance, accounting, marketing, etc.)? What courses are offered? Is it possible to review syllabi to ascertain, e.g., whether courses are taught using case method or experiential learning? Are the business schools collaborating with other schools in providing this teaching (e.g., environmental science)? Do the schools’ sustainability websites indicate a top-down, organized, and collaborative commitment to sustainability and climate education or are they merely “convening platforms” for uncoordinated or scattershot initiatives? What co-curricular activities are involved (e.g., speaker series, student organization participation)? Research will include interviews with pedagogical leaders at other schools, assessment of best practices, and recommendations for program development. While the initial inquiry is broad, the student will have great latitude to suggest the focus of the narrower analysis based on initial findings. The final product will be a comprehensive report on the state of sustainability and climate teaching in US business schools and a set of recommendations on curricular and co-curricular initiatives that should be undertaken by the Kelley IESS and its partners across the Bloomington campus. This will provide guidance to department chairs and their faculty as they develop new courses and other pedagogy.
Desired skills and interest: Students should have good organizational skills and be comfortable with scheduling and conducting interviews with sustainability faculty and staff at other schools.
Mentor: Dr. Ben Kravitz Assistant Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences College of Arts + Sciences
Project Description: As climate change progresses, we are seeing numerous effects throughout the globe. Some of these effects are due to teleconnections, which are pathways in the climate system where a change in one area can cause an effect very far away. An example of teleconnections is how disappearing Arctic sea ice can cause mid-latitude winter storms in the United States. But maybe it’s causing other things that we’re seeing, like summer heat waves, extreme storms, and droughts. How could we find out? How could we separate which events are being caused by sea ice versus something else? Students working on this project will use data from a variety of sources to help figure this out. Key tasks will include understanding and collecting the different types of data that are out there, learning how to analyze that data, defining extreme events, plotting results, and making sense of them. Expected outcomes by the end of spring semester will be a poster describing the results and how they fit into the larger research context. Work toward a peer-reviewed publication would be great but is not expected.
Desired skills and interest:
Experience with coding (can be any language or pretty much any level of experience, but I want someone who has at least tried to write a program before)
Basic understanding of x-y plots or maps
Taken and done well in algebra or higher
Not necessary but would be nice:
Proficient programming experience, possibly including plotting data
Experience with UNIX/Linux
Has taken or plans to take synoptic meteorology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Aaron Deslatte Associate Professor, O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Project Description: This study uses a novel, longitudinal mixed-methods research design to better understand “climate-adaptive collective action” occurring at local and regional scales across U.S. metropolitan regions. Climate change, with its implications for sustainability and resilience, has been called a defining focus for sub-national governments in the 21st century. While already a quintessential collective action challenge, the generational investments of federal resources underway make the dynamic, wherein local governments may act alone or attempt to free-ride on the efforts of other governments, all the more salient. Transformative policy efforts such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) highlight the need for stronger collective action theory and evidence to understand the impact and barriers to collaboration in addressing the climate crisis. This study uses a novel combination of longitudinal survey methods, qualitative interviews of municipal officials in four metropolitan regions (Chicago, IL,; Cincinnati, OH; Indianapolis, IN; and Pittsburgh, PA), text analysis of climate-action and sustainability planning documents, and network analysis to illuminate the determinants of climate-adaptive activities within and between local governments. This approach allows us to address two research aims: 1) Understanding how internal organizational and external collaborative arrangements shape network participation; and 2) Understanding how outcomes and feedback from these interactions prompt adaptive change in organizational and network structure.
Desired skills/interests: Ability to organize and administer online interviews with sustainability officials in municipal governments and regional planning organizations; interest in subnational climate adaptation.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Dana Habeeb Assistant Professor, Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering
Project Description: Climate change is having a serious impact on human health around the world with extreme heat as a leading cause of climate-related deaths in the United States. In order to prevent heat related illnesses, cities must appropriately plan for the extreme heat crisis through comprehensive heat management plans. This research project is part of an on-going study to survey how cities across the country are preparing for and responding to extreme heat. The student scholar will learn about heat management frameworks and actions that communities can take to respond to climate change. The student will also learn about methods to collection community-level data.
The student scholar will work to identify city and county level plans and policies that focus on protecting their communities from extreme heat. The student scholar will collect and document plans, identify best practices and gaps/opportunities, and visualize results. From the survey analysis, the student will identify exemplar approaches implemented in cities across the United States and help to develop protocols for heat risk assessments.
Desired skills and interest: The Sustainability Scholar should have an interest in climate change and community engagement. The student should be self-motivated, well-organized, and a good communicator. The student should have excellent writing skills and not afraid to learn new technologies or skills. Spatial analysis skills with GIS is a plus.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Dana Habeeb Assistant Professor, Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering
Project Description: Extreme heat events are responsible for more annual fatalities in the United States than any other form of extreme weather. This research project is part of a NSF CRII grant with the aim to monitor near surface air temperatures in Bloomington, IN. The sustainability scholar will support an on-going project to establish an environmental sensor network on the IU campus and in targeted urban agricultural locations in Bloomington. Temperature, relative humidity, and soil moisture sensors have already been deployed in differing urban form environments (i.e. along streets, in parking lots, and in community gardens) in order to measure how these environmental variables differ and change during heat waves. The project aim includes how to inform users of environmental exposures that are harmful to their health. The student will help to manage and update the current sensor network and work with targeted communities. The student will help develop educational materials about extreme heat and the role of sensing technologies in collecting hyperlocal environmental data. The student scholar will also help to develop a summer workshop bringing local community stakeholders together to understand the role for citizen science in capture local heat exposures.
This research project aims to deploy environmental sensors in order to investigate two main research objectives. 1. To investigate how temperatures change in differing urban environments. 2. To investigate how to communicate local environmental information to targeted stakeholders.
The work planned includes: • Surveying existing sensing platform and performing an environmental sensing literature review • Maintaining and update the current sensor network, through data collection and sensors maintenance and installations. • Develop educational and workshop materials to educate and connect with local stakeholders. • Working with environmental data to track trends in temperatures.
Desired skills and interest: Interest in environment, climate change and sensors. Interest and/or experience with working with large datasets, visualizations and outdoor field work. Interest and/or experience working with quantitative data, including visualizations. Spatial analysis skills with GIS is a plus. Excellent writing skills.
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