Claire Meng ’26


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project Title

Understanding the Air Quality and Health Impacts from Increasing U.S. Wildfires

Wildfires are burning longer and occurring more frequently, and their adverse health effects are becoming more prominent. While increasing studies are analyzing the health effects of wildfire smoke particulate matter that are 2.5 microns or smaller in diameter (PM2.5), few studies have investigated this particulate matter over longer time frames and in specific geographic areas. Thus, our project examined wildfire smoke PM2.5 in the United States from 1990-2020 at the county level, using asthma as the main indicator of health. As previous studies have cited the lack of county-specific databases as a reason for taking a broader-level approach, I worked to compile data from various state and county sources to create comprehensive datasets on asthma-related hospitalization and emergency department visits. I also analyzed the data by creating time series charts and maps in the program R. From this experience, I gained invaluable knowledge in creating research proposals and experience in the highly detailed work required to produce practical results. Additionally, it opened my eyes to the breadth of possibilities in the research world, and especially in environmental research.

Internship Year


Project Category

Food Systems and Health


Mauzerall Group, Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment (C-PREE), School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University - Princeton, New Jersey


Denise Mauzerall, William S. Tod Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Public and International Affairs; Yuanyu Xie, Associate Research Scholar, School of Public and International Affairs