Ziyan Wu, Spring 2018
Major: Environmental engineering
Mentors: Dr. Amin Mohebbi, Dr. Chun-Hsing Ho
Engineering for climate change
The changing weather patterns brought by global climate change present unique challenges to civil engineers. NAU senior Ziyan Wu’s research will help engineers divert and control one of the planet’s most precious resources: water. Ziyan is using computer modeling to create a new Intensity-Duration-Frequency (IDF) curve. Engineers use the IDF curve to build infrastructure, like storm sewers and drains, that can accommodate expected rainfall patterns, patterns that are changing dramatically as the planet warms.
Ziyan, an international student from China who is majoring in environmental engineering, never imagined she would be doing research as an undergraduate, never mind research with international applications. “I thought I’d just take classes, not do research,” she said.
But one of her professors had a different idea. During her second year at NAU, Dr. Amin Mohebbi invited her to participate in engineering research. “This was the first step for me, the critical step for me,” she said. Water isn’t the only thing her research has moved; Ziyan’s goals for her future have also moved. Doing the research has made her realize that her ultimate goal is to become a professor so she can continue to do research and instruct students. “I’d like to inspire other students to get involved in research,” she said.