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Grad Student Spotlight: Jessica Levey

Jessica Levey is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate with a concentration in hydroclimatology. She is interested in how climate change is altering hydrologic extremes and how to adapt civil infrastructure to these expected changes. Levey, who grew up in Massachusetts, is advised by Professor Sankar Arumugam and is part of the Climate, Hydrology, and Water Resources (CHWR) group.

What influenced you to go into engineering?

LEVEY (L): Although my undergraduate degree is in climate science/geoscience, I was interested in transitioning into engineering for my Ph.D. because of the applicability of the research to current water resource problems.

What problem(s) are you trying to solve? Why was NC State / CCEE a good fit for you?

L: My current research focus is on forecasting sub-seasonal to- seasonal hydrologic extremes for water-resource management. Long-range forecasts will allow for advanced planning of water resource allocation for water supply, hydropower, agriculture and ecological demands. CCEE was a good fit for me because I knew I wanted to focus my research on hydroclimatology, and the CHWR group was working on projects in this discipline.

Where did your passion for this particular focus come from?

L: I have always been interested in most fields of science. As an undergraduate, I found it difficult to pick a field that interested me the most. Ultimately, I chose to focus on hydrology because this field intersects with many disciplines of natural science and is relevant as the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly evident. Climate change is altering global hydroclimatology, causing precipitation extremes to become more intense and threatening many of the world’s freshwater resources. As hydrologic extremes are intensifying, water resource management becomes critical. Reservoirs serve various purposes including water supply, flood control, hydropower, agriculture and irrigation, water quality, and environmental/ecological. My current research focuses on forecasting large-scale changes in hydroclimatology and the adaptation of water resource management practices accordingly.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

L: I see myself continuing to work on research, but I have not decided if that will be at an academic institution or at a government agency.