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  • Writer's pictureLea Vecchiarelli

As GREAT As It Can Be

Hey everyone, Ani- GREAT pun! My name is Lea and I'll be a senior at Rutgers this fall! In my free time this summer I have been biking, kayaking, and going to the beach so all things considered, things have been pretty GREAT so far. I wanted to join this project mostly because I have always had a passion for earth science, and genuinely wanted to learn more about it. I am majoring in bioenvironmental engineering and have a particular interest in hydrology and water treatment. Rainfall can cause flooding, damage to infrastructure, and landslides! So I joined Paulo and Andrews group which studies the causes of landslides and their locations to look for patterns. We will be using data from Costa Rica and around the world to create better maps of Costa Rica to determine landslide susceptibility and hopefully use these to create a better monitoring system and prevention of damage. We will be using QGIS to make these maps, which is a computer software for geospatial data.

I have never used QGIS before, but it is something I have always wanted to learn and a very valuable tool. I expect research to be a lot of trial and error, especially working with older data rather than live field work data. I imagine it will be similar to coding in the sense that there is an end goal in mind of what the map should look like and be able to tell, but there are many different ways to get there, and endless possibilities of variations. I also think organizing and finding the data we are using will be the hardest part. Nevertheless I am so excited to learn how to map, and create something useful with them.

Like the rest of the group I’m sure, I would have much rather been able to do this research in Costa Rica. But over the summer and spring semester we adjusted to having Zoom calls and they have been working pretty well. I was looking forward to being with the team everyday because I think that would have really put us into the research mindset, which is rather hard to do in my living room. However, we are so lucky to have the technology to share our screens, video call, and email so I think this will all work out and we will work together to make this remote research experience as GREAT as it can be.

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