Behind the Science Blog

DRI’s “Behind the Science” blog featuring our people and projects 

Read the stories below to learn more about the amazing people and projects happening at DRI.

Meet Juan Henao Castaneda

Meet Juan Henao Castaneda

Juan Henao, Ph.D., is a new postdoc in atmospheric sciences working with John Mejia, Ph.D. Originally from Medellin, Colombia, he spent six months on DRI’s Reno campus in 2018 while working with Mejia during his doctoral studies. His primary project will be contributing to atmospheric and air quality modeling efforts, including using digital twins to investigate the effectiveness of urban heat mitigation measures.

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Graduate Student Winners of the Annual Poster Presentation Session

Graduate Student Winners of the Annual Poster Presentation Session

On Friday, April 26th, 16 graduate students presented their research at DRI’s Reno campus for the annual poster presentation session. Organized by Kathleen Rodrigues, PhD, assistant research professor of luminescence, the poster session offers an opportunity for DRI-affiliated graduate students to network with each other and with DRI faculty, hone their presentation skills, and showcase the research they’re working on in pursuit of their degrees.

DRI Researchers Partner with NDEP to Prepare Rural Nevada Communities for a Smokier Future

DRI Researchers Partner with NDEP to Prepare Rural Nevada Communities for a Smokier Future

In 2021, DRI researchers partnered with the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) to address the gap in air quality monitoring. Led by Kristin VanderMolen, Ph.D., assistant research professor of atmospheric science, a new study details how the research team designed custom air quality sensors and information materials for rural Nevada counties.

Preparing for the Floods That Follow the Fires

Preparing for the Floods That Follow the Fires

A conversation with Guo Yu and Jeremy Giovando about their new research examining post-fire flood frequency. The study expands on previous frameworks to account for the compounding impacts of repeated wildfires on flood risk, using a southern California watershed as a case study.

Meet Bea Gordon, Ph.D.

Meet Bea Gordon, Ph.D.

Beatrice, who also goes by “Bea,” is an interdisciplinary hydrologist with a deeply embedded concern for water availability born from her childhood on a Wyoming ranch. She is focused on working with communities in rural Nevada to understand their needs for effective climate adaptation.

Meet DRI Atmospheric Modeler, John Mejia

Meet DRI Atmospheric Modeler, John Mejia

John Mejia, Ph.D., is an associate research professor of Atmospheric Modeling at DRI. He was recently awarded a Mid-Career Advancement Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support his research on climate change impacts to urban communities, including urban heat islands and air pollution.

DRI Scientists Launch Nevada Orchid Project

DRI Scientists Launch Nevada Orchid Project

DRI scientists are starting the first ever effort dedicated to studying and conserving Nevada’s orchids. Many people know orchids as flashy, delicate flowers raised in lush greenhouses, but orchids also thrive in the sparse wetlands sprinkled around Nevada’s arid landscape. In fact, lovers of the state’s orchids like to tout one impressive statistic: Nevada has no less than 14 species of native orchids, in contrast with Hawaii’s mere three.

Meet Ariel Choinard, Project Coordinator for CNAP & Southern Nevada Heat Resiliency Lab  

Meet Ariel Choinard, Project Coordinator for CNAP & Southern Nevada Heat Resiliency Lab  

Ariel Choinard, M.A., started at DRI in February 2023 as the project coordinator for the California-Nevada Adaptation Program (CNAP) and the new Southern Nevada Heat Resiliency Lab. She is working with Tamara Wall, Ph.D., to build connections between scientists, community members, and community organizations to co-produce solutions, adaptations, and resilience to climate hazards.