Mentor Name:
Daniel Mendoza

Mentor Position:
Research Assistant Professor

Atmospheric Sciences

Mines & Earth Sciences


Project Description:

**This project is a part of the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR), which provides undergraduate students with an intensive 10-week research experience under the mentorship of a University of Utah faculty member. SPUR 2022 begins on May 25 and ends on August 4. If you are interested in this project, please review all program information on the SPUR site. If you wish to apply to this project, you must apply using the SPUR 2022 application.**

** This project is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (PIs: Sara Grineski and Tim Collins). In addition to being part of SPUR, it is also part of the HAPPIEST programApplicants must be University of Utah students who identify in one or more of the following ways (defined by the National Institutes of Health): Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinxs, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders. Two students will be selected to work on this project together.**

The electric bus air quality monitoring platform is a novel mobile platform where electric buses operated by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) have been outfitted with sensors measuring fine particulate matter (PM2.5), ozone, and nitrogen oxides (NOx). This unique project follows in the footsteps of the TRAX air quality monitoring project and is a collaboration between Salt Lake County, UTA, Utah Division of Air Quality (DAQ), and the University of Utah. The focus of this study is to measure pollution at the residential level and particular attention has been placed on making sure the buses travel on routes servicing the underserved West Side of Salt Lake County. The valuable information will help inform policy and health decisions through a lens of equity and environmental justice.

Opportunity Type:

This is a paid research position

Student Role:

The student would be working on any of multiple available roles depending on their interest. A student with interest in instrumentation would participate in the monthly inspection and maintenance visits at the bus depot in addition to working on the lab to test and calibrate equipment. Additionally, the student would perform data analysis and quality control. A student with greater interest in health or policy would perform research on the implications related to the measurements and develop interventions towards environmental and health equity. This role would also involve communication with outreach partners and stakeholders.

Student Benefits:

This transdisciplinary experience will prepare a student to tackle real life problems and projects with a holistic perspective considering basic sciences, health, social sciences, and policy with and equity lens. The interdisciplinary mentoring team has substantial experience transforming research into enactable policy and will work with the students to identify avenues to do so. Furthermore, we will work with stakeholders and community partners and teach the students how to effectively engage and communicate with these critical groups.

Project Duration:

35-40 hours per week on research and program-related activities, begins May 25, 2022, and ends August 4, 2022

Minimum Requirements:

Admission to the program is competitive. Applicants must meet all of the following criteria: 1) be a matriculated, degree-seeking undergraduate student in the Fall 2022 semester (beginning or continuing college career in Fall 2022 and not graduating before December 2022; concurrent enrollment while in high school does not meet this eligibility requirement). Applicants do not need to be a University of Utah student. 2) eligible to work in the United States: If you are a University of Utah Dreamer (with or without DACA), you are eligible to participate. U Dreamers with DACA will be hired and paid through U payroll. U Dreamers without DACA who graduated from a Utah high school will be compensated via a different mechanism. If you are a Dreamer from a different institution: If you have DACA, you are eligible to participate and will be hired and paid though U payroll. If you do not have DACA, you are able to participate and gain research experience, but we do not currently have a mechanism that allows us to compensate you. For more information, please contact Megan Shannahan at megan.shannahan@utah.edu or 801-581-2478. If you are an international student or scholar, you must either a) be a degree-seeking undergraduate student at the University of Utah, OR b) possess documentation that establishes your eligibility to work in the United States (if you hold US citizenship, it is likely you have these documents). 3) able to commit to approximately 35-40 hours per week of employment at the University of Utah for the entire duration of the program (May 25-August 4, 2022). 4) at least 18 years old by May 23, 2022 (required if you wish to use on-campus housing; preferred if you will not be using on-campus housing).