The Community Air Research Experience (CARE) is a geoscience learning community that engages underrepresented undergraduates in research to measure and attribute air pollution in Chicago neighborhoods that differ in socioeconomic demographics and proximity to industrial facilities.
CARE has three aims:
provide an applied, socially-relevant research experience for URM students,
increase understanding about the spatial distribution and temporal variation of particle pollution in Chicago, and
provide air quality data for community discussions about how to reduce air pollution and better protect public health.
Air pollution is one of the major threats to public health and welfare. In the CARE project, students will study air pollution in Chicago, because over 5 million people in Chicago are at risk from high levels of ozone and particle pollution1. In addition, residents of low-income or high minority neighborhoods of Chicago share a greater burden of air pollution than more affluent areas2,3, which makes air pollution in Chicago an environmental justice issue as well.
CARE students participate in 10 seminars and field trips to learn about research design and methods, geoscience career opportunities, and professional skills, plus consult with community organizations to prepare for the upcoming research.
(May 16-June 10)
During a 4-week research experience in Chicago (40 hours per week), CARE students install air monitoring instruments, learn and practice computer programming, and collect and analyze data to answer research questions of interest to local communities.
Note: Picture above is an example of real-time air quality monitoring using a low-cost smart sensor which will be installed by CARE students in Summer.
CARE students finalize their research results, learn and practice scientific communication skills, and present their results in communities and conferences.