Sustainability graduate Erin Shives discusses her work
with the NASA DEVELOP program

Erin ShivesAt the start of my senior year at SDSU in 2020, I had the opportunity to work with Professor Biggs, Department of Geography, and peers on a project measuring the impact of restoration on Mast Park in Santee, California. For a clearer understanding of future work entailing GIS, statistical programming, and hydrology, I enrolled in Professor Biggs graduate level course, Advanced Watershed Analysis. Within the project, I was able to apply the course knowledge utilizing QGIS, R, and specific methodologies to examine land use and land cover for the study area. Being a part of this project encouraged me to continue learning and take on two optional courses into my spring semester, Geographic Information Systems and Introduction to Data Science with R. All these courses complimented my Sustainability degree and expanded my interest to continue researching and learning new techniques in the field of Earth science.

Following graduation in May 2021, I joined the Boston location of the NASA DEVELOP National Program, part of NASA’s Applied Sciences and Capacity Building programs. During the 10 week term, our team assessed landslide susceptibility and urban flooding along the Ohio-Kentucky border utilizing NASA Earth observations. This project was an incredible opportunity to learn and build upon my skills in GIS, programming languages, remote sensing, scientific communication, and teamwork. The national fellows, my teammates, science advisors, and project partners involved all brought passion and determination each day to make this working environment full of exciting discoveries. My favorite aspect of the project involved the use of Google Earth Engine to examine rainfall variability across the study area.

This upcoming fall, I look forward to continuing my time with DEVELOP working with the North Carolina team on the Midwest Water Resources project developing an evapotranspiration climatology to support agriculture and natural resource managers in the Midwest.