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Student successes in graduate school: Igor Ogashawara

Igor Ogashawara | Ph.D. Student , Earth Sciences | Department of Earth Sciences I would definitely encourage prospective graduate students to visit the facilities, to personally talk to their prospective advisor and understand what the graduate program can offer.

What degree are you working toward?

Ph.D in Applied Earth Sciences

Why did you choose graduate school at IUPUI?

I chose my graduate school at IUPUI after visiting the campus and the Department of Earth Science in July of 2013. I visited the campus while I was traveling around the country to specifically talk to, Dr. Lin Li, who was one of my references in my Master Thesis. Dr. Li was very welcoming and I could learn about his research and about the graduate program of the department. What called my attention was the opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary research combining experts from different scientific fields to study the same problem: harmful algal blooms. In addition to this research opportunity, the idea of having a minor degree in Environmental Health Sciences to add a community benefit perspective in the research was also an important factor for me to choose IUPUI. I would definitely encourage prospective graduate students to visit the facilities, to personally talk to their prospective advisor and understand what the graduate program can offer.

What has been your favorite academic accomplishment since you’ve been here?

My favorite experiences during my graduate school journey have been the opportunity to attend important scientific events. During these almost three years in the Ph.D program I was able to attend the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) Aquatic Sciences Meeting (in 2015 and 2017) as well as the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting (2015). The attendance to these scientific events helped me to not only to showcase the work that I have been conducting here at IUPUI, but also to get good feedback about my research, having brainstorm conversations about future work, meet many of the researchers that I only knew from reading their papers as well as increase my network. These opportunities were not only supported by the department and by my advisor but also by different travel grants that we, as graduate students, can apply for like the Graduate Office Travel Grant.

What do you enjoy most about life in Indianapolis?

What I like in Indianapolis is its size. It is not a huge metropolitan area with urban problems but it is also not a small sized city where everything is far away from you. Indianapolis has the perfect size to fulfill all the needs of a graduate student, it has good places to eat, good cultural attractions, is always hosting important sport events and you can walk from the main campus to downtown in just few minutes. I also like the climate, coming from a tropical country (Brazil) I always liked to see the four different seasons in a year.

Please provide some details about your work/research as a graduate student and/or any activities you are involved in.

My research is focused on monitoring and predicting the occurrence of harmful algal blooms (HABs) from space. Every year there is an increase in the number of occurrence of HABs, especially in water supply and recreational waters. A good example of this issue was the HAB in Lake Erie in the beginning of August of 2014 which resulted in the contamination of the tap water of Toledo, Ohio, affecting over 500,000 people. The use of satellites to monitor these HABs is a new technology that have been intensively developed in the last two decades, mainly because of the development of new sensors and satellites. The use of satellites provide a spatial and temporal coverage of HABs which is not possible when conducting a field sampling. However, there are many challenges to develop a global operational monitoring of HABs using satellites and my research here at IUPUI is trying to work on a framework to use satellites to monitor HABs worldwide. Besides my research, I am a youth science supporter and I am currently the representative for Brazil in the International Conference of Young Scientists (ICYS). ICYS is a little bit different from the science fairs that we have in the U.S., since it is based on oral presentations in front of a specific jury in their research field. Therefore, this initiative is a way to inspire young scientists (High School students) to pursue their path into the science field.


Igor is also a recipient of the IUPUI Travel Fellowship award. Read more about her Travel Fellowship here »

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