March Featured Grad - Deep Sengupta

deepsengupta1webWhat brought you to DRI?

I am a chemist who is motivated by exploring the distribution of natural organic matter in different environmental archives and developing an understanding of how these organic compounds control the biogeochemical process in Earth system science. Before coming to DRI I completed my master’s thesis on “Mechanism of arsenic release in groundwater”. After that I was involved in an international collaborative project to investigate the glacier melt proportion in headwaters of river Ganges. During this time, I developed a strong interest in snow hydrology and glacier ecosystems. Still, I was looking for a Ph.D. position in the United States and luckily I got in touch with my research supervisor Dr. Andrey Khlystov. To be honest, I got all my aspiration to join DRI by looking at how well he harmonizes the optimistic and pragmatic part of research work.

What are you studying?deepsengupta2web 

As a chemist, I initially thought studying atmospheric science would be tough for me. But teachers like Dr. Pat Arnott, Dr. Heather Holmes, Dr. Mae Gustin, Dr. Mike Kaplan, Dr. Eric Wilcox helped me to develop understanding on a wide range of topics starting from basics of atmospheric physics and dynamics to complicated equations of radiation transfer and even troubleshooting new instrument development. I think the graduate program in Atmospheric Sciences gives an opportunity to students to expand their horizon everyday with comprehensive training and through a collaborative research environment that stimulates the inclusion of the knowledge acquired from courses to future Ph.D work.

What research projects are you working on? And who at DRI are you working with?

deepsengupta3web I work on composition and light absorbing properties of Carbonaceous Aerosol that have been emitted from wild fires with both field observation and controlled burning experiments in the laboratory. I also investigate the chemical evolution of smoke plumes due to atmospheric transport in an oxidative flow reactor. This work has had direct impact on air quality issues and on regional and global climate change. I am trying to expand my lab theme and setting my goals to investigate how these aerosols can affect the snow in the Sierras. The occurrence of wild fires is quite conspicuous in the Sierra Mountains throughout the year, with an increase in frequency during summer and early fall. The light absorbing species that comes out of wild fire smoke can affect the mountain snowpack distribution. In Semi-Arid areas like Reno and other adjacent valleys, most fresh water supply for millions of people is governed by melt water from mountain snowpack. Therefore, it is important to understand how individual light absorptive components from the smoke control the melt water runoff. This will help policy makers to predict the total runoff and timing of the runoff peak which will help them to design the storage and distribution of water for household and agricultural programs.

I am working with Dr. Andrey Khlystov, Dr. Hans Moosmüller , Dr. Vera Samburova in two collaborative projects from NSF and NASA.

deepsengupta4webWhat are your short-term and long-term goals while at DRI?

My short-term goal while being here at DRI is to accomplish the goals fixed by my research supervisors. I want to see myself in academia as I have good articulation skills and have the right aptitude for communication. Apart from this personal development and training, my goal is to help graduate student problems at the community level. I am currently the DRI Grad President and GSA council member. I began with a teaching assistantship my first year here at this university and I have taught five undergraduate lab courses individually. I have mentored undergraduate students to set their career goals too. An example is helping a computer science major student to focus on climate data science. I believe this habit of mentoring undergraduate students is important for graduate students as they are going to be future faculty. I aspire to reach the high school communities of Nevada by working in conjunction with DRI's K-12 outreach program.

Tell us about yourself. What do you do for fun?

 With so much activity in the science arena in Reno, I don’t get enough time to cherish my hobbies. But, when I get a chance, I enjoy hiking, skiing, playing badminton and practice singing.