ESE doctoral students win first-place PARTNER awards

March 22, 2013
Matt Woody and Pradeepa Vennam, doctoral students in environmental sciences and engineering (ESE) at Gillings School of Global Public Health, both won first prize recently for individual research papers submitted to the ninth annual Hartman student paper competition, sponsored by the Partnership for AiR Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction (PARTNER).

Left to right are Pradeepa Vennam, Dr. Sarav Arunachalam and Matt Woody.

Left to right are Pradeepa Vennam, Dr. Sarav Arunachalam and Matt Woody.

PARTNER, a leading aviation cooperative research organization, works to foster research among its member universities and students performing research on aviation-related issues. Because of the tied first-place award, the panel of judges awarded four prizes instead of the usual three.

Woody’s paper – “Can Remote Sensing Products Detect the Air Quality Signal due to Aviation Emissions?” and Vennam’s paper, “An Observation and Model Based-Assessment of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) from a Medium-Sized U.S. Airport,” each received a $3,750 cash award, along with an invitation to the 20th PARTNER advisory board meeting in February, where they presented their research, and to the 10-Year Review Symposium, held March 1 in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Jason West, PhD, ESE assistant professor and Woody’s adviser, was excited about the win. “Both of these students are making strides to improve our understanding of the air pollution caused by aircraft,” he said. “This is an important source of pollution that’s likely to increase in the future.”

Sarav Arunachalam, PhD, research associate professor at the UNC Institute for the Environment and an adviser to both students, noted that this was the fourth time Woody had won an award from PARTNER.

“This attests not only to the excellent work that Matt does, but also how much the PARTNER Advisory Board community values and appreciates UNC’s research. Both [winners] are very hard-working students, and their recognition by PARTNER is well-deserved.”

Vennam’s adviser, ESE associate professor Will Vizuete, PhD, was equally enthusiastic. “I really enjoyed working with Pradeepa on a topic as important as hazardous air pollutants,” he said. “Even better is the fact that this work allows us to collaborate with the Institute for the Environment.”



Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or