Apoorva Pandey, who earned a doctorate in energy, environmental & chemical engineering from the McKelvey School of Engineering in 2019, recently received the 2021 Sheldon K. Friedlander Award during the American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR) annual conference. The Friedlander award recognizes an outstanding dissertation by a recent doctoral graduate in the fields of aerosol science and technology.

AAAR is the premier scientific organization for scientists and engineers who wish to “promote and communicate technical advances in the field of aerosol research.”

Pandey’s dissertation, titled “Toward improved understanding of black and brown carbon radiative impacts over south Asia,” analyzed how certain carbons in the atmosphere interact with sunlight and the impact on climate.

"Sometimes in research, it can be hard to get a sense if what you’re doing is useful to the community,” Pandey said. “For this award, Dr. (Rajan) Chakrabarty submitted the nomination and got letters of support for that nomination from other senior scientists in the group. I got to hear feedback that my research was seen as valuable by people I respect and admire a lot.”

"This prestigious honor is a fitting testament to the high standards that Apoorva set for herself as a doctoral student,” said Chakrabarty, the Harold D. Jolley Career Development Associate Professor at McKelvey Engineering. “She was fiercely independent and incredibly passionate about conducting both lab and field experiments combined with physics-based modeling. A complete package, so to speak. Throughout her tenure, she never lost track of the big picture questions that motivated her to pursue a PhD in the first place: impacts of anthropogenic pollution on the environment and society in South Asia."

Pandey is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and is a part of the team taking part in NASA’s Earth Venture Project. The study aims to investigate the impact of summer storms in the United States on the stratosphere, specifically in relation to climate and ozone. Field research for the project was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but Pandey and her team were finally able to get out into the field this past summer.

“It was an amazing experience to work with accomplished scientists, engineers, weather forecasters, and the NASA flight crew on such a large-scale, complex mission,” Pandey said. “I’m looking forward to doing more of that next summer.”

Pandey earned a bachelor’s degree at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi and was a research associate at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. Both institutions are partner schools through the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.