Bandhna Bedi, Miia Sula and Elizabeth Morales (Edmonds College)

Bandhna Bedi, Miia Sula and Elizabeth Morales (Edmonds College)

3 Edmonds College students present research

Edmonds College students Bandhna Bedi, Elizabeth Morales, and Miia Sula presented their research on the environmental consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic at a virtual conference on April 28. The annual Posters on the Hill conference is sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research and is usually held on Capitol Hill.

The event allows students to present their work to members of Congress, congressional staff members, and federal government officials. The EC team’s project was one of 60 chosen this year from more than 200 applications across the country.

“Being a presenter at Posters on the Hill and having published work before graduating from Edmonds was something I never thought I would do.” said Morales, who is pursuing an associate’s degree in chemical engineering and will transfer to the University of Washington this fall to study environmental engineering. “Completing a project like this encourages me to continue asking tough questions and challenging myself even when I think I’m not as experienced for the task.”

The EC team’s project examined how the COVID-19 shutdown affected air pollution in Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, New York City, and Rochester, New York. Pollution levels varied by population density, but all locations saw similar trends during the pandemic: a significant drop in nitrogen dioxide and a slight, surprising rise in carbon dioxide. Nitrogen dioxide is known for causing respiratory illnesses and acid rain, which causes deforestation and acidifies waterways. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. The students speculated that the rise in carbon dioxide may be attributed to increased electricity usage as people’s daily life, work, and school moved online.

“What our team has accomplished can be done by anyone, as seen by the diversity in our own team,” said Bedi, who is earning an associate’s degree in computer science and will study informatics at the University of Washington in the fall. “Even though we’re not all environmental majors, we all had skills to contribute to the project.”

In the two weeks following the conference, the team met with the offices of Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray and Representatives Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, and Pramila Jayapal. Conversations centered on the team’s research as well as the importance of supporting higher education.

“Aides we spoke to were eager to learn about the experience of being a student during the pandemic, and they invited us to stay in touch,” said Sula, who is licensed to practice patent law in Finland and is currently working towards getting qualified to practice law in the U.S.

The team says that both Washington and New York would benefit from additional monitoring sites in rural, suburban, and low-income areas. Because the current systems mostly capture data near cities, they do not tell the full story of pollution trends.

“A lot of the challenges the team faced revolved around finding complete, reliable data sources,” said EC physics instructor Rachel Wade, who mentored the students. “Often there would be missing months — or years — of data. It was a labor of love in many ways.”

To learn more about the student researchers, visit their profiles on the Council on Undergraduate Research website.

Maplewood gets a new fire station captain

Justin Pickens has been promoted to captain at Maplewood Fire Station 16 in Edmonds, South County Fire recently announced.

Fire Chief Thad Hovis presented Pickens with a new helmet to mark the milestone.

Zonta names new officers

The Zonta Club of Everett has completed another year of service to the community and to the world.

In a virtual ceremony May 20, Zonta’s District 8 Lt. Governor Deb Lal installed new Everett officers: President, Kelsey Taylor; Vice President, Cheryl MacGregor; Secretary, Cynthia Weaver; and Treasurer, Judy Krabill.

Continuing on Zonta’s Board Directors for the 2021-22 term are Marilyn Marsh and Karen Mathews. Autrina Martindale and Carol Janowicz were installed as new directors for a two-year term.

The Zonta Club of Everett is part of Zonta International, a global organization, empowering women through service and advocacy. For over 91 years the Everett Club has been supporting local non-profit agencies with grants and providing educational scholarships to women and girls in the community. For more information go to www.zontaeverett.org. New members are welcome.

Know someone who deserves recognition? Call 425-339-3432 or email newstips@heraldnet.com

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