Through MIT Summer Research Program, Undergraduate Abigail Idiculla Dives into Climate & Sustainability Topics with the MCSC
"I saw a real-world application of environmental science and now, I can better communicate my research to various audiences."
Abigail Idiculla, an undergraduate studying civil and environmental engineering at Pennsylvania State University, spent her summer with the MCSC through the MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP). She worked with MCSC Impact Fellows Sydney Sroka and Glen Junor to create an app with MathWorks in MATLAB that layers together heterogenous public datasets in a user-friendly interface that is geared towards supporting decisions related to installing carbon capture. The app is being developed to integrate information on the carbon intensity of the electric grid, natural hazard risk, and social vulnerability to help the user incorporate energy grid resilience considerations into their carbon capture planning decisions. At the end of the summer, she had the chance to present her research to selected MCSC member companies, where she talked about developing an interactive map of CO2 sources, pipelines, and sinks.
We caught up with Abigail to learn more about her summer with the MCSC.
What was a highlight of your MCSC experience?
What is a way you were able to provide new insight and create a meaningful impact on your research team?
As a civil and environmental engineer (with almost no knowledge of the carbon capture market), I identified opportunities for improvement that others may have missed. Many of my co-workers specialize in more traditional sciences — like chemistry and physics — but I contribute additional knowledge of natural and built world interactions. For example, I wanted to include a financial calculator that might predict future costs/savings for companies looking to enter the CCS market. This calculator would integrate environmental, social, and infrastructure risks to narrow down a company’s choices for CCS retrofit.
What’s something from your summer research with the MCSC that you are excited about applying to your future academic studies and/or a future career?
A wizard in MATLAB and scientific communication, Sydney Sroka taught me game-changing programming techniques and showed me how to deliver better written and verbal presentations. Watching her talk to major companies and motivate them to join the CCS movement taught me more than any lecture hall or homework assignment. I saw a real-world application of environmental science and now, I can better communicate my research to various audiences.
Any advice you’d give other students looking to dive into research more deeply, or anything else you’d like to add?