2014 Bryson Scholarship Event
The Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research held its fourth annual Reid Bryson Scholarship competition on April 22, 2014, as part of the Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference. There were 28 student applicants from a diverse set of departments and centers across campus, including the Center for Climatic Research (CCR), the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), the Nelson Institute, and the Departments of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Population Health Sciences, Forest and Wildlife Ecology, Life Sciences Communication, Geography, Chemistry, Engineering, and Mathematics. This rich variety captures the interdisciplinary nature of Professor Reid Bryson’s studies and will inspire other UW students.
This year we offered three separate scholarships to recognize the top graduate and top two undergraduate student projects. The winner of the 2014 Reid Bryson Graduate Scholarship of $1,000 was Vijay Limaye of the Department of Population Health Sciences, SAGE, and the Nelson Institute's Environment and Resources program. Vijay is a Ph.D. candidate studying environmental epidemiology in the United States and India. His poster, "Climate change impacts on air quality and human health in the eastern U.S.", was based on his doctoral research under the guidance of Drs. Jonathan Patz and Tracey Holloway in SAGE and additionally co-authored by Drs. Monica Harkey and Jason Vargo of SAGE. His project used an integrated set of climate, energy, and air quality models to simulate the health impacts of air pollution. Vijay's study found that a warming climate will likely be accompanied by increasing air pollution during summers, leading to a significant rise in human mortality and morbidity, particularly in the southeastern United States.
The winners of the 2014 Reid Bryson Undergraduate Scholarships were Marian Mateling and Sonia Petty. Marian earned a $750 scholarship for her poster, "Assessing cloud and sea ice effects on the Arctic radiation budget in the CMIP5 models", while Sonia won a $250 award for her presentation, "Effects of climate change and land cover on the subnivium, a seasonal refuge beneath the snow". A senior in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Marian presented her research evaluating the ability of global climate models to simulate radiation and clouds in the Arctic (co-authored by her advisor, Professor Tristan L'Ecuyer). This is a very timely topic amid rapid Arctic climate change, and Marian demonstrated the strengths and weaknesses of state-of-the-art models in representing these important components of the polar system. Sonia Petty, a major in Wildlife Ecology, featured her investigation of how climate change is affecting the wintertime biological refuge provided by snow cover. Through recent field work in the UW Arboretum, Sonia and her co-authors (Professors Ben Zuckerberg and Jonathan Pauli) demonstrated that temperatures within the snowpack differ significantly between locations in forests and prairies and that this relationship depends on the season (winter or spring). This kind of research on the biological impacts of climate change is important for understanding how plants and animals will adapt to different environmental conditions in the future.
In addition to these winning posters, the scholarship competition attracted an interesting and diverse range of research topics from across the UW campus, including:
- African monsoons
- Saudi Arabian dust storms
- Lake-effect snowstorms
- Impacts of climate change on tree growth
- Tropical cyclone monitoring from satellites
- The effect of industrial emissions on air quality and radiation fluxes
- Stratosphere-troposphere exchanges
- Influence of extreme weather on bird populations
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we will be awarding more Reid Bryson Scholarships in 2015 to worthy University of Wisconsin-Madison students.