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Garcia Menendez receives NSF CAREER Award

Campus Gateway
Fernando Garcia Menendez
Dr. Menendez

Dr. Fernando Garcia Menendez, assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University, has received a Faculty Early Career Development award, also known as the CAREER Award, from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The award is one of the highest honors given by NSF to young faculty members in science and engineering.

NSF will provide $500,000 in funding over five years to support his project, “Modeling and Educational Framework to Support Air Quality Management in a Smoky Atmosphere.”

Garcia Menendez will work to develop computational tools and innovative assessments to help U.S. land managers lessen the impact to human health of air pollution from smoke, while at the same time restoring the natural fire cycle to improve ecosystem health. He plans on also developing integrated land management and air quality scenarios that jointly consider wildfire risk, land treatments, air quality, and public health impacts. These scenarios will provide a basis for comprehensive integrated assessment modeling of wildland fire beyond smoke impacts.

In partnership with North Carolina State Division of Parks and Recreation, he will also seek to change misguided perceptions of fire and smoke among scientific and broader communities.

An outcome of his work will be the formation of graduate and undergraduate environmental engineers trained in simulation of complex environmental systems and effective science communication. Additionally, summer research experiences will expose high school students to environmental research and encourage the participation of students from underrepresented groups in engineering.

Garcia Menendez earned his B.S. in chemical engineering from Tecnológico de Monterrey, his M.S. in civil and environmental engineering from Stanford University, and his Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.