Recipients of the Air Quality Research Award announced

The Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) awards two undergraduate students for their exceptional air quality research

November 28, 2018

The Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment at the University of Wisconsin - Madison has selected two undergraduate students to be the first recipients of the undergraduate Air Quality Research Award.

This award, which benefits students who are engaging in outstanding air quality research, is made possible thanks to a generous donation from Jeff Rudd, who received his Ph.D. from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and is a member of its Board of Visitors. “I’m glad to have the opportunity to support outstanding undergraduates researching air quality. They’re fortunate to be guided and mentored by Professor Tracey Holloway, the Director of the NASA Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team, and recent recipient of the UW-Madison Undergraduate Research Student Mentoring Award.”

This year, Matilyn Bindl and Madankui Tao have been selected by Dr. Holloway, a Gaylord Nelson Distinguished Professor and air quality scientist, to receive the inaugural award.

Bindl is a senior studying Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. Bindl was drawn to this course of study due to the urgency and relevance of global climate change. With this education, she aims to apply her knowledge to improve the quality of our environment and our society by mitigating the effects of climate change.

Matilyn BindlBindl presenting her research at HAQAST4 Meeting.

Bindl conducts her research on air quality as part of The Holloway Group. Her specific research project focuses on discovering how air pollution over cities disperses under various conditions during a day and how that impacts the detection of air pollution and nitrogen dioxide from the ground versus space.

Tao is currently studying Environmental Sciences with certificates in Math and German. Tao is also a researcher in The Holloway Group where she focuses on quantifying the reduction in air pollutant emissions as a result of energy efficiency. She is assessing air quality by comparing satellite data with ground-based measurements, specifically exploring data from a high-resolution satellite to determine whether air emissions from highways and traffic are visible over Los Angeles, California.

Matilyn BindlTao presenting her research at HAQAST4 Meeting.

“It is my honor to receive this award. It is the best recognition of my work and allows me to dive deeper into my topic of interest,” stated Tao. Receiving this award has also encouraged Tao’s decision to apply to Ph.D. programs and advance her air quality research.

As a part of the Award, both recipients will be attending major scientific conferences to present their work. Tao will be presenting her work at the 2018 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in Washington, DC. Bindl will be attending the NASA Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team (HAQAST) Meeting and the 2019 American Meteorological Society Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Knowing the opportunities that have become available to me after receiving this scholarship, I hope to one day extend this same generosity to a younger generation of scientists. This award acknowledges my passion for the fields of air quality and atmospheric science and encourages me to continue on a path to achieve my long-term goal of working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA),” stated Bindl.

The Undergraduate Air Quality Research Award strives to support up and coming scientists, like Bindl and Tao, for their outstanding research, foster diversity in science, and help UW - Madison students jump-start their careers.