Interdisciplinary Work

Environmental Justice and Activism in North Carolina

hours: 75
instructor: Dr. Rebecca Vidra
Fall 2020

Environmental Justice and Activism in North Carolina was a student led course uniquely centered on the specific environmental justice (EJ) issues faced in our surrounding communities. Our major topics were the following: the intersection between LGBTQIA+ and EJ issues, feminism activism, indigenous activism, hog farming, wooden pellets, and coal ash. The course brought in speakers from the community, and fostered a community connection and awareness that felt extremely valuable when looking at these EJ issues. This course challenged systematic issues with infrastructure in my own community, and provided a broad number of perspectives from very different voices.

FOCUS: Energy and the Environment

hours: 200
instructor: Drs. Nico Hotz, Josiah Knight, Sophia Santillan, Rebecca Simmons
Fall 2019

The FOCUS program in Energy was a cluster of courses that laid a foundation for sustainable energy and energy related environmental efforts. From this FOCUS, we learned the history, current status, and trajectory of sustainable energy, and designed and prototyped a related energy project for a client. In a team of five, I created a soiling sensor to detect and measure levels of soiling on a solar panel. Solar panel soiling is a major loss of energy efficiency in solar farms, and the device used an Arduino and stepper motor to measure efficacy. Clean energy is a growing sector of infrastructure and powers the systems that keep our urban environments running. As such, it is a pivotal facet of my Grand Challenge Focus.

Prototype Soiling Sensor

Gender and Language + Linguistics Capstone

hours: 250
supervisor: Dr. Edna Andrews
Spring 2021 and Spring 2023

In the US, women make up only 13 percent of the engineering workforce (according to a 2019 study by the Society of Women Engineers). In two of my courses as a linguistics major, I chose to study academic and working environments, from childhood to the workforce, exploring the reasons for the gender gap in STEM careers and the high dropout rate of women in engineering (specifically in the context of the United States). In these courses, I examined the reasoning and data behind current publications, and approach the complex issue of women in engineering from economic, social, and cultural perspectives. My resultant paper and linguistics capstone was a culmination of these experiences and research, and investigated linguistic elements of the communities of practice that exist in highly gendered spaces.