Dr. Fernando Garcia Menendez, assistant professor of civil engineering at North Carolina State University, has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his research proposal “A Modeling and Educational Framework to Support Air Quality Management in a Smoky Atmosphere.”
The NSF CAREER award is one of the most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty members who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.
Garcia Menendez’ research focuses on the public health effects of exposure to the fine particulate matter that occurs from both wildfires and prescribed fires. He will 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 that is needed to improve the ecosystem health of public lands. The research is complemented by an educational component to train specialized environmental engineers and inform different segments of the U.S. public about the benefits and challenges associated with wildland fire.