N.C. A&T Research Team Participates in American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting

By Jamie Crockett / 12/16/2022 Research and Economic Development, College of Science and Technology, The Graduate College

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Dec. 16, 2022) – A research team comprised of professors, post-doctoral and graduate student researchers from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University presented at the 2022 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in Chicago. Solomon Bililign, Ph.D., Marc N. Fiddler, Ph.D., Vaios Moschos, Ph.D., Janica Gordon, Markie’Sha James and Megan Mouton participated in poster and oral presentations that focused on research related to air quality and health in Africa.

Bililign, a professor of physics in the College of Science and Technology, is an expert in experimental and theoretical atomic, molecular and optical physics and chemical physics. His research interest primarily focuses on “laboratory measurement of optical and chemical properties of African biomass burning aerosol to understand their role on climate, regional weather, air quality and health.”

Over the years, Bililign has consistently led teams that present research at the AGU fall meeting – what is considered to be “the most influential event in in the world dedicated to the advancement of Earth and space sciences.”

Preparation for some N.C. A&T projects begin nearly a year ahead of the December conference.

“It’s really beautiful how things take form for AGU. At least for my research, we started around January and during the day-to-day you don’t really realize how much you’ve done until you’re putting together all the materials preparing for the conference,” said Mouton, a third-year doctoral student studying applied science and technology with a concentration in physics.

Sometimes instrument challenges can delay a project’s progress, but everyone is encouraged and supported while persisting and identifying solutions.

“It’s important to still stay focused and do your best even if it’s within a short timeframe,” said James, a third-year doctoral student with a concentration in atmospheric, environmental and energy science. “I’ve appreciated the help and this is the most hands-on group I’ve probably ever worked with.”

Team members in Bililign’s lab research a region that is not well-studied and their significant contributions have resulted in increased interest in the continent and new initiatives started by leading agencies including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Our students are doing a lot of the hard work, and I want to give back the credit to them,” said Bililign. “They put out ambitious abstracts, hoping things will pull together and I can say with considerable confidence that this is the only lab in the world where African biomass fuels are chemically and optically characterized experimentally, because we get the samples straight from Africa.”

Each postdoctoral and graduate student researcher from A&T had the opportunity to first author one presentation, while contributing as an author in at least one other presentation with colleagues. In all, the team participated in five presentations alongside researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Botswana International University of Science and Technology and Arizona State University.

“At the beginning of every year, we always have this goal to have a presentation ready for AGU that’s not old work,” said Gordon, a third-year doctoral student with a concentration in applied physics.

The research team presented or contributed to the following AGU abstracts:

Following the conference presentations, participants receive feedback and comments from the community for additional work leading to peer-reviewed publications.

“Attending the conference is an incredible opportunity that allows us to network, receive important feedback on our work and allow us to discuss future plans as well,” said Moschos, a postdoctoral researcher on the team.

According to AGU, more than 25,000 people from more than 100 countries attend for networking and information-sharing opportunities. This is the first year organizers have hosted the AGU meeting in Chicago.

Media Contact Information: jicrockett@ncat.edu

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