Doctoral Student Awarded Distinguished Public Impact Fellowship

The UCI Graduate Division awards engineering doctoral student Ajinkya Desai a Distinguished Public Impact Fellowship for his research on fire-atmospheric interaction.

March 18, 2024 - Ajinkya Desai, a civil and environmental engineering doctoral student, was selected for a Distinguished Public Impact Fellowship. He was one of five awardees this year chosen by the UC Irvine Graduate Division to receive $11,000 for his potential to impact local and global communities through his research.

Desai is researching fire-atmosphere interaction, specifically the wind circulation patterns that cause wildland fires to become extreme. He investigates burn data from prescribed fires, analyzes mathematical fire-spread models and conducts computer simulations on fire behavior in different vegetative environments to better understand the organized swirling motions characteristic of wildland fires. His research could help design effective strategies for faster wildland-fire containment, as well as further the current understanding of smoke dispersion patterns. He aims to improve human health and safety conditions by creating more reliable and detailed computer models of fire-spread behavior in a wider range of environmental conditions.

“I am grateful to be awarded these fellowships because they help me continue with my doctoral studies without being preoccupied with funding concerns, enabling me to channel my energy into research,” said Desai who is also a 2022-23 Henry Samueli Endowed Fellowship awardee. “It charges me with the responsibility of working diligently and sincerely toward generating knowledge that will significantly impact human lives.”

– Lilith Christopher