A workshop on harmful algal bloom in Ohio surface water was designed to engage STEM students to conduct environmental and geographical studies and research at Central State University (CSU). CSU is a historical black university (HBCU) offering bachelor degrees for multiple STEM programs, including environmental engineering, sustainable agriculture and computer science. In 2018 and 2019, a total of thirteen STEM students were recruited for a four-week summer workshop to study multidisciplinary technologies for harmful algal bloom detection and monitoring. The goal of the workshop is to equip students with multidisciplinary cutting-edge theories and technologies in GIS, remote sensing, biology, and water chemistry. It further improves the students’ success in their academic study and future career. In the first two weeks of the workshop, students participated in lectures, lab experiments, technology demonstration, field trips, research lab visiting, and etc. Through these activities, student participants had opportunities to develop hands-on experience on multiple novel technologies and instrument, including ArcMap, ArcGIS Pro, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), GPS, Inducted Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS), and ASD spectroradiometer. In the third week, participants were assigned with project tasks: select an Ohio inland lake to investigate the occurrence of algal bloom in the past decades, and further relate the risk of algal bloom to land cover and land use pattern observed within the watershed. Upon the completion of the project, students have practiced using ArcGIS, Google Earth Pro, and EPA Water Quality Portal for map design, landscape inquiry, and water quality data analysis. In the fourth week, participants presented their key project findings to the workshop advisors. The follow-up monitoring of participants’ academic and research success were conducted to provide feedback of the workshop design and implementation. The paper presents the overall design of the workshop, and highlights the preliminary evaluation of the workshop.
Dr. Ning Zhang, an associate professor of Environmental Engineering at department of Water Resources Management (WRM) at Central State University, USA. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Dalian University of Technology, China; Master of Science and doctoral degrees from West Virginia University, USA. She has expertise in developing treatment technology to reclaim various industrial wastewater, including mining wastewater, and unconventional oil and gas production wastewater. Dr. Zhang’s research interests also include surface water quality monitoring, watershed management, and algal bloom monitoring. She has published several peer reviewed journal papers in the area of environmental science and engineering. She has been recently focusing on STEM program enhancement and advancement activates, such as curriculum revision and program accreditation.
Dr. Cadance Lowell is a Professor of Agriculture at Central State University and Chair of the Department of Agricultural and Life Sciences. She received a B.S. in Botany from Duke University, a M.S. in Botany from the University of Florida, Gainesville, and a Ph.D. in Horticulture from the University of Florida, Gainesville. She did post-doctoral work with the USDA in Peoria, IL as a biochemist in soybean oligosaccharides before joining Central State University in 1989. Dr. Lowell maintains a research program in directed energy to kill weeds as an integrated pest management strategy. She mentors undergraduate students in funded research projects who have gone on to present at local, state and national conferences.
Dr. Xiaofang Wei, Professor of Geography, GIS, and Remote Sensing at the Department of Water Resources Management (WRM) at Central State University. Dr. Wei received her bachelor degree from Wuhan Technical University of Surveying and Mapping and her doctoral degree from Indiana State University. Her research interests are focused on the applications of remote sensing and GIS in Land use/land cover change study, harmful algal bloom monitoring, forest biomass estimation, crop evapotranspiration estimation, and imagery atmospheric correction. Dr. Wei serves as PI (Principal Investigator) or Co-PI for multiple NSF and NIFA research projects. She employs quantitative tools and computational approaches of remote sensing and GIS, including 6SV1 (Second Simulation of a Satellite Signal in the Solar Spectrum), FLAASH (Fast Line-of-sight Atmospheric Analysis of Spectral Hypercubes), SEBAL (The Surface Energy Balance Algorithm for Land), and SWAT (Soil & Water Assessment Tool). Dr. Wei has involved and guided undergraduate students in her research, as an effort to increase STEM recruiting, retention, and completion.
Dr. Desheng Liu is a Professor of Geography, Statistics, and Geodetic Engineering at the Ohio State
University. He received his B.E. degree in GIS from Wuhan University, China, M.A. degree in statistics, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in environmental science from the University of California at Berkeley. His current research focuses on understanding forest ecosystem dynamics, land use and land cover change, and human-environment systems through integrated use of remote sensing, machine learning, spatio-temporal statistics, and ecological modeling.
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