Katie McLaughlin ’23
Air Quality Modeling and Environmental Justice
Certificate(s): Statistics and Machine Learning
I had the opportunity through the Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS) program to study air pollution in the United States and how exposure correlates with demographics. I collaborated with two other Princeton students to answer environmental justice (EJ) questions using data from an InMap Source-Receptor Matrix (ISRM), a tool that can predict a change in PM2.5 pollution at a receptor location due to a change in source emissions. Our goals were to make the ISRM calculations accessible and understandable, and to assign an EJ score to power plants across the United States. We first thoroughly documented a local setup and functions guide that future researchers can use to gain an understanding of the ISRM and its potential. After completing the basic groundwork, we used the ISRM to evaluate the emissions each power plant produces and analyzed the effects on different ethnic groups, exposing a need for policy and action. Through this work, I learned a lot about our country’s history of environmental and racial injustice. I gained great insight into the process of engineering research, and I am inspired to use my technical background to address similar social and environmental issues.
Climate and Environmental Science
Marshall Research Group, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington
Julian Marshall, John R. Kiely Endowed Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington