Nelson Institute graduate student receives a Graduate Student Summer Fieldwork Award

May 7, 2019

Nelson Institute graduate student, Deepika Guruprasad recently received the  Graduate Student Summer Fieldwork Award, from the UW-Madison Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS). This $3,000 award will support Guruprasad’s fieldwork in India along the Nethravathi River basin.

As part of her final project in the Nelson Institute Environmental Observation and Informatics (EOI) program, this award will allow Guruprasad to travel to India to gather on-the-ground data which she will use with satellite imagery to map land use of the River basin. Working with her project supervisor, Niren Jain, a volunteer with Wildlife First and a Nelson Institute alum, Guruprasad will use the land use data to help determine how proposed roads and other linear intrusions will impact the water basin.

“I’m thankful for this award, which will allow me to study the linear intrusions proposed,” Guruprasad said. “There are so many things you can do with satellite imagery. It provides you with a lens that allows you to so much of what the eye cannot. By developing these maps of the region I will be able to compare the impacts on the area before and after.”

In fact, Guruprasad has been studying remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) as a part of the Environmental Observation and Informatics (EOI) Master’s program. This 15-month program combines hands-on, in-person training with distance learning to educate individuals with diverse professional and educational backgrounds on the three pillars; remote sensing and integrated technology, modeling and analysis, and innovative leadership.

Environmental Observation and Informatics Program Coordinator, Sarah Graves, along with program chair, Annemarie Schneider, wrote Guruprasad’s recommendation letter for this award and are thrilled to see Guruprasad’s work supported by a UW-Madison IRIS award.

“Deepika’s fieldwork will directly support her independent project in protecting the biodiverse Western Ghats in India,” said Graves. “Deepika is a uniquely qualified student to receive this award. Her background is in electrical engineering with years of experience as a software engineer. Deepika also has a passion for environmental conservation and was a volunteer for a large research project in the Western Ghats, the same area she will work. The EOI program and her independent project are combining her technical background with her interest and passion for conservation fieldwork.”