I’m a Ph.D. candidate in the Earth and Environmental Engineering Department at Columbia University advised by Upmanu Lall. I work on applied problems in infrastructure planning and climate risk management that lie at the intersection of meteorology, statistics, hydrology, reinforcement learning, and engineering. I’m particularly focused on thinking about how to can combine engineering projects, policy changes, and financial tools (like insurance) to manage climate risks in the near and distant future.
Why I Do It
Growing up in the United States, I never thought much about having access to sufficient quantities of clean and safe drinking water. So when the Fundación Paraguaya gave me the opportunity to work with them on a water access project in rural Paraguay, I assumed that the technical challenges would be within my grasp. Although I found I could understand calculations such as sizing pipes and motors or dosing chlorine, so could the people who operated and depended on the small systems! Instead, three months traveling around the country highlighted the resilience and ingenuity of ordinary people, but also the vulnerability that their communities face to external shocks such as prolonged drought, aquifer contamination, and economic collapse. Other experiences in the US, Ethiopia, Cameroon, and Brazil deepened this interest.
I work to develop quantitative and data-intensive tools so that I can better examine human-environment systems, probe where catastrophic events could happen, and look for solutions that reduce those risks. Research is always incremental, and I know that making even a dent in the huge collective challenges we face will require collaboration and luck, but if you’re interested in these ideas I’d love to talk further!