Carnegie Mellon University
May 08, 2015

CEE/EPP Seniors Win Environmental Research Award at Meeting of the Minds

CEE/EPP Seniors Win Environmental Research Award at Meeting of the Minds

In December Hegglin (left) and Bradford (right) presented their project at the Advancing and Redefining Communities for Emergency Management conference in Los Angeles. In December Hegglin (left) and Bradford (right) presented their project at the Advancing and Redefining Communities for Emergency Management conference in Los Angeles.

Congratulations to Katie Bradford (BS ’15) and Miriam Hegglin (BS ’15) for winning first place in the Meeting of the Minds Environmental Research category. Their project, A Heat Vunerabliltuy Index and Adaptation Solutions for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a culmination of months of research towards finding ways to protect Pittsbugh’s citizens from the heat.

The research group focused on Pittsburgh's emergency response to expected increases in extreme heat events from climate change. Bradford and Hegglin predominantly focused on using GIS to map Pittsburgh's heat vulnerability in each census tract using an index retrofitted from other state's emergency plans. The heat vulnerability index included factors such as socioeconomic level, education level, age, disabilities, ethnicity, and living conditions. They then used the index to map potential cooling center locations for Pittsburgh's most vulnerable populations.

The project started during an Engineering and Public Policy capstone class on Climate Adaptation for Pittsburgh taught by Dr. Kelly Klima (EPP) and continued during the summer by Bradford as part of a SURF grant (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) at CMU. The project team also included CEE/EPP PhD candidate Leslie Abrahams.