EES Undergrad Awarded a NASA Develop Internship
EES Undergraduate Addy Pletcher was recently awarded a NASA DEVELOP Internship. She will be working this summer with the Arizona Node on a project predicting algae blooms in the Highland Lakes along the lower Colorado River.
Addy explained, “I’ll be using NASA Earth Observations to Improve Early Warning Systems for Harmful Algal Blooms in the Highland Lakes Chain in Texas”.
Past blooms in this area have produced high levels of neurotoxins released from harmful cyanobacteria, resulting in mass canine death. Dogs swimming and playing in this water have a higher exposure to these toxins because of the large amount of water they ingest directly through drinking or swimming but also through grooming wet fur. Blooms have been detected as recently as this past February and continue to persist at high levels. The goal of the project is to use satellite imagery, combined with earth observation data and machine learning, to create forecasting for such bloom events in the future.
Pletcher’s mentor, Dr. Sherry Martin of the MSU Hydro-lab, was excited for Addy’s award. “This is a highly sought-after position and I’m really proud of Addy for the work she put into getting it. This project will not only enhance her research skills, but it will also provide training in how to communicate that research to a variety of audiences.”
According to NASA, “The Applied Sciences’ DEVELOP National Program addresses environmental and public policy issues through interdisciplinary research projects that apply the lens of NASA Earth observing satellites to community concerns around the globe. These projects provide participants the opportunity to not only engage in research but to also improve in the communication of their research as DEVELOP puts equal emphasis on conducting research and communicating it.”
The internship runs from June through August 2021.