Introduction: Piper Read


Hi everyone, my name is Piper Read and I am excited to share a little bit about myself and my research. I’m a Chemistry major and going into my senior year (scary!). Following graduation I plan to pursue a graduate program in Environmental/Atmospheric Chemistry. My dream is to work for an environmental organization such as NOAA or the EPA. I also love education and I’m a peer tutor at the Study Lab so I hope that at some point in my life I can return to school and become certified to teach high school chemistry. 

My research project focuses heavily on determining ozone production potential. Production of ozone occurs through several mechanisms but depending on the environment can be driven primarily by nitrous oxides (NOx) or Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). One prevalent source of both NOx and VOC is prescribed agricultural burns. My goal in this project is to use data from previous field campaigns to model the ozone production of different agricultural burns to determine if the type of crop (e.g. corn, soy) impacts the ozone production potential. Throughout my project I will be using a MATLAB framework called F0AM to develop a model for this application. The model will allow for input of data collected on aircraft flying over agricultural fire plumes and will, hopefully, output charts and graphs that can be interpreted to indicate ozone production. 

My faculty advisor is Dr. Reem Hannun of the Geology and Environmental Science department. She is an atmospheric chemist and has been so helpful in connecting me with her colleagues at NASA and UMD, all of whom are doing brilliant work in climate and atmospheric science. With concern over our changing climate growing rapidly, I know that studying a greenhouse gas, ozone, has the potential to be deeply impactful to not just the scientific community but to the health of our planet. 

The Brackenridge fellowship is a fantastic opportunity to gain research experience for me given the interdisciplinary nature of the program. Environmental issues like the one I am studying involve not only the blending of physical sciences such as chemistry and biology but also need to be informed by economics, anthropology, and public policy. Through this fellowship, I know I will come away with a better understanding of how to present research to and learn from diverse and widely knowledgeable audiences outside of my field.

I look forward to getting to know more of you this summer!

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