Sol Taubin, 2016, Civil and Environmental Engineering

In the last decade, Brazil has seen millions of hectares of its native biomes logged and burned in response to rising global demands for raw goods and cheap food sources. These explicit regional changes in land use, in conjunction with global climate trends, have spilled over to affect local climactic patterns, energy fluxes, and ecosystem health, and have further marginalized populations already vulnerable to anthropogenic and climactic pressures. Interning at the Amazon Environmental Research Institute’s field site on the Brazilian agricultural frontier this summer, I had the opportunity to work side-by-side with leading scientists, policy makers, and field technicians on these issues. I learned cutting-edge methodology in data collection and field research, experimental design techniques, and data analysis in R; was exposed firsthand to deforestation for agricultural production, and improved my Portuguese. My personal projects included writing code to interpret and visualize eddy flux tower data and helping collect and treat water and soil samples for electro-conductivity and contamination experiments. My internship was an incredible experience, and has informed my plans for junior independent work and my senior thesis. I hope to build on the foundation of spatial modeling and statistical analysis of converging socio-environmental pressures that I developed this summer, and further explore the intersection of environmental change and marginalization.