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Associate Professor Fernando Garcia Menendez tapped as Fulbright Canada Distinguished Chair in Environmental Science at Carleton University

Associate Professor Fernando Garcia Menendez (left) and NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson (right)

CCEE Associate Professor Fernando Garcia Menendez was named the Fulbright Canada Distinguished Chair in Environmental Science at Carleton University for 2024-25 by the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Program.

Fulbright Scholar Awards are prestigious and competitive fellowships that provide unique opportunities for scholars to teach and conduct research abroad. Fulbright scholars also play a role in U.S. public diplomacy, establishing long-term relationships between people and nations. Alumni of the Fulbright Program include 62 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 80 MacArthur Fellows and thousands of leaders and world-renowned experts in academia and many other fields across the private, public and nonprofit sectors. Distinguished Scholar awards are viewed as the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Scholar Program.

“I was thrilled and honored to receive this award,” Garcia Menendez said. “It is a great opportunity to focus on a major environmental issue and work with exceptional Canadian researchers. I am also excited to represent NC State and the U.S. in Canada.”

Garcia Menendez will be at Carleton University’s Institute for Environmental and Interdisciplinary Sciences in Ottawa, Canada, from August 2024 through March 2025, leading a project to study the impacts of air pollution from wildfires and explore solutions to this challenge. 

“Recently, historic wildfires in Canada have burned millions of acres and covered large regions of North America with hazardous smoke,” Garcia Menendez explained. “As communities and policies change to coexist with fire, new air quality and land management strategies are needed to mitigate the negative effects of smoke. In this research I will use computational modeling and data analysis to assess Canadian wildfire impacts on North American air quality and public health; evaluate land and fire management options and new approaches to address the effects of smoke; and build a network of collaborators and stakeholders centered around the problem of air pollution and wildfires in Canada.” 

Garcia Menendez said the opportunity to be a Fullbright Scholar will help expand his research on wildland fire and air pollution in the Southeastern U.S. and focus on a new challenge and global region. 

“Working with Canadian colleagues will provide an opportunity to learn about new approaches to air quality modeling and environmental management,” he elaborated. “I also hope to develop new long-term collaborations across institutions and countries.” 

Garcia Menendez uses computational modeling and data analysis to explore interdisciplinary questions related to air pollution, climate change and environmental policy. His research group’s work focuses on developing tools based on high-performance computing, uncertainty analysis, and integrated assessment modeling to simulate interactions between environmental and human systems, with the primary goal of informing environmental decision-making and policy.