Jessica Luo, 2015, Civil and Environmental Engineering

In recent years, we have seen stronger, more frequent tropical storms devastate coastal communities. While we cannot prevent these storms from occurring, what can we do to mitigate the consequences of water once it surges into the city? Professor Guy Nordenson’s book “On the Water: Palisade Bay” explores possible engineering and design solutions that could be used to protect New York City from the effects of storms. My internship this summer sought to apply these concepts to Shanghai. I learned about some of the physical concepts behind storm surge, researched the strategies that people have used to live with the water as well as their perceptions of the water, examined various characteristics of Shanghai, and helped build a GIS database. I also developed informational presentations for an upcoming exhibition to help explain the concepts behind our project to a general audience. In addition to refining my research skills, I gained insight on the ways that people have focused on addressing environmental challenges rather than getting caught up in political debates about the environment. I believe the knowledge and skills I gained during this internship will be applicable in anything I do and could influence my independent work in the future.