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Graduate STEM Fellow Profile

Shane Irvin

Project Title: Initiating New Science Partnerships in Rural Education (INSPIRE)
Thesis: Creating an Analysis to Accurately Assess Water Quality Parameters Using Multispectral Imagery and In Situ Testing
College/University: Mississippi State University
Research Advisor: Joel O. Paz
Degree Sought: M.S., Biological Engineering
Department: Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Research Focus: Water quality and surface water remediation; geographical information systems coorelations; sediment value in local streams
Teaching Partner(s): Johnathon DuFour

Description of Research

Assessing water quality on impaired streams helps determine the magnitude of its impairment and identify the exact location where the impairment is most severe. Advances in remote sensing and geospatial technology have allowed researchers and environmental agencies to assess streams by monitoring large areas. I am overseeing a project that involves the spatial correlation between suspended sediment and aerial multispectral imagery. Using both in situ measurements and aerial imagery, and comparing the differences, can provide a more specific view on the stream’s health. The main goal of my research is to determine and develop a statistical correlation between the imagery and water quality by demonstrating the use of aerial imagery in detecting water quality indicators in impaired streams. Relationships between spectral bands and observed water quality parameters can be used to estimate the water quality parameters at different locations of an impaired stream. The results of this research are expected to assist in the development of near real-time maps for the evaluation and monitoring of water quality of streams and rivers, providing large spatial coverage resulting in significant cost-savings over conventional in situ water quality.

Example of how my research is integrated into my GK-12 experience

My personal research has been integrated into the classroom and my experience in more ways than I originally thought possible. Over the year, I have developed lesson plans focusing on everything from the Pythagorean Theorem to Descriptive Statistics. My engineering background has allowed me to provide hands-on experiences as well as a better understanding to the students by providing real life examples. The students have worked on projects that focus on the geometric importance of mapping and measurements. By using aerial multispectral imagery in the classroom, the students can see the formation of shapes and “the bigger picture” from such a height. The students are able to visualize better as well as provide more inquisitive questions that through typical textbook style learning would not be possible. The best parts of the integration of my research are the large amounts of free technology that is available for the students including Google Earth and ESRI ArcGIS Explorer.

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