CEE Doctoral Student Wins Outstanding Student Presentation Award
March 15, 2023 - Civil and environmental engineering doctoral student Shu Li earned the Outstanding Student Presentation Award (OSPA) for her presentation “Quantifying surface fuels using drone-based LiDAR” at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) 2022 Fall Meeting in Chicago last December. Li is one of 138 award recipients selected from hundreds of presenters at the conference. Along with an OSPA certificate, she received $400.
Under the advisement of assistant professor Tirtha Banerjee, Li is using drone-based LiDAR to collect data on the amount and structure of vegetation that will be fuel for forest fires. Li explains that using low-altitude drones to fly through a forest is more accurate when assessing fuel than airborne LiDAR that must penetrate the dense forest canopy. The data fills gaps in existing fuel maps and is collected into a surface fuel library that can be used for predictive wildfire models and fuel treatment strategies. “My research is intended to contribute to preventing wildfires, reducing wildfire hazards, and alerting the public to be aware of and protect the environment,” said Li.
Li and her fellow researchers plan to further analyze collected data by comparing vegetation composition, structure and healthiness and to continue using drones to retrieve new data to complete the fuel library.
– Lilith Christopher