CEE 393: Independent Study

During the Fall 2017 semester, I began an independent study in an effort to reduce the impacts of hurricanes on structures such as chemical plants, oil rigs and etc. This study was inspired by the recent hurricane in Texas, Hurricane Harvey. To begin, I first did a comprehensive literature study into NaTech disasters – a technological disaster triggered by a natural disaster. Next, I began to look into the reinsurance industry to find more motivation for the study as well as to find potential ways we can study this. After the literature research, I began to dive into the softwares including HAZUS and ANALYTICA. Since HAZUS is a complex software and hasn’t been used at Duke yet, there has been a learning curve in downloading it and learning it. Therefore, a significant effort went to learning the software and utilizing online tutorials.

Start Date: 8/21/2017
End Date: 12/18/2017
Total Hours per Week: 10
Total Hours to Complete this Experience: 160
Supervisor Name: Mark Borsuk


Research Study: Protecting Duke Forests

During the 2018-2019 school year, I will be looking to use the knowledge and skills I gained during my independent study and previous research experiences to help protect Duke Forests. During the Fall semester, I worked with the management team at Duke Forests to create a list of risks posed to the future of the forest. Together, we then organized these risks into influence diagrams. Examples of these risks include structural damage due to natural disasters and climate change as well as threats related to soil health and land usage. The goal of these influence diagrams is to eventually quantify and evaluate them using Analytica software, so that we can help the forest management team decide which areas to focus on and have a better idea of the risks that may play a role in the forests’ future.

Start Date: 8/20/2018
End Date: 12/7/2018
Total Hours per Week: 5-10
Total Hours to Complete this Experience: 100
Supervisor Name: Mark Borsuk


Research Study: Protecting Duke Forests

During the spring semester of my senior year, I am taking another 0.5 credit research course and will be working to complete my research study. By using the influence diagrams I developed during my fall semester, I will look to quantify these findings and display them on Analytica software. The ultimate goal of this being to help Duke Forests have a better idea of the risks posed to its future.

Expected Start Date: 1/9/2019
Expected End Date: 5/7/2019
Total Hours per Week: 5-10
Total Hours to Complete this Experience: 100
Supervisor Name: Mark Borsuk


Duke Research Integration Voyage

During Spring Break of my freshman year, I went on CEE-sponsored experiential trip to Southern Florida. Here, we spent one week exploring CEE topics first hand by visiting a waste water treatment plant, water resources management infrastructure in the everglades, and a sugar plantation/refinery. In addition, we networked with Duke alumni and met with practicing engineering and researchers working in the energy, water, food and environmental sectors. This trip truly gave me a hands-on experience in seeing how civil engineering is used in our everyday lives. It also showed me the problems many important environmental infrasture designs have faced and need to prepare for in the future. For instance,  the sugar refinery has been adapting to the stronger and more frequent hurricanes plaguing Florida.

Start Date: 3/13/2016
End Date: 3/18/2016
Total Hours per Week: 60
Total Hours to Complete this Experience: 60
Supervisor Name: Tony Parolari

Research Assistant

During the fall of my sophomore year, I explored bioremediation by assisting a Duke Environmental Engineering PhD candidate, Lauren Czaplicki. For my part, I assisted in setting up the vials (which were over 700) to suspend the spores and test whether the fungi we were testing were able to reduce the amount of pollutant in the vials. In addition, I used ImageJ software to help quantify the spores. This project helped me practice using sterile techniques when dealing with hazardous chemicals as well as working with advanced softwares. In addition, my main takeaway from this experience is that we can use creative and fairly natural methods to make our planet less toxic.  I have used the knowledge I gained from this experience in my current research project as well, since toxic chemicals are a result of NaTech Disasters. In addition, the work we produced has been submitted for publication to Biodegradation under the title, “Evaluating the Mycostimulation Potential of Select Carbon Amendments for the Degradation of a Model PAH by an Ascomycete Strain Enriched from a Superfund Site.”

Start Date: 9/1/2016
End Date: 12/9/2017
Total Hours per Week: 8
Total Hours to Complete This Experience: 96