Thursday, September 15, 2016

Summer Program Welcomes Future Environmental Engineers from Brazil

Students from 75 different Brazilian higher education institutions participated in a summer program at the University of New Orleans designed to encourage pursuit of expertise in air quality management. The Air Quality Monitoring, Modeling and Management (AQM3) program was created and led by civil and environmental engineering professor Bhaskar Kura and attended by 101 Brazilian students and 15 volunteers from May 30—July 29. The Brazilian government’s Brazil Scientific Mobility Program sponsored both the AQM3 program and the students’ participation.

The program’s goal is to introduce future environmental engineers to the concepts and methods involved in addressing current and future air pollution problems around the world. Students had an opportunity to learn theoretical, experimental and computational methods applicable to air monitoring, modeling and management. About 35 hours per week were spent on program activities, most of which were experiential learning opportunities outside of a classroom. Participants visited various industrial facilities, networked with engineering professionals and conducted field experiments. Students were challenged to integrate interdisciplinary skills and develop and run different computational models.

“Air quality management is one of the fastest growing professional fields around the world,” Kura said.

According to the World Health Organization, “in 2012 around 7 million people died—one in eight of total global deaths—as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk.”

“As the air pollution problems continue to grow globally, there is a great demand for well trained professionals that understand various aspects of air pollution problems and managing them,” he added.

Kura views the AQM3 program as consistent with the components of UNO’s mission that involve serving international students, advancing shared knowledge and improving quality of life around the world. He was especially pleased to see participation in the 2016 summer program triple over the previous year’s attendance.