Environmental Studies Professor Awarded National Science Foundation Grant

Lynne Gratz, associate professor and associate director of the Environmental Studies Program, was recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant of $46,463.

The grant will support a three-day atmospheric chemistry research field experience for 16 Colorado College students at Storm Peak Laboratory, a high elevation permanent mountaintop observatory in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

The field experience will take place during Gratz’s Block 6 Atmospheric Chemistry class in Spring 2023. Students enrolled in the class, who are required to have taken Gratz’s Atmospheric Dynamics class previously, will learn how observational data is collected for the purpose of better understanding things like mountain weather patterns, how clouds form, and where air pollution comes from.

During the field experience, students will collect original data with portable, hand-held sensors and will have access to longer-duration continuous measurements that have already been collected at Storm Peak Laboratory, says Gratz.

“I have been leading a collaborative, NSF-funded research project at Storm Peak Laboratory since March 2020 focused on atmospheric mercury – specifically how mercury gets into the local atmosphere and the chemistry that it undergoes, which is important for advancing our understanding of how mercury can enter ecosystems as a toxic pollutant,” says Gratz. “This exciting, multi-institution project has already supported four Colorado College undergraduate student research projects and senior theses. This research really leveraged my interest in taking my Atmospheric Chemistry course to Storm Peak Laboratory, so that even more CC undergraduate students can learn about this world-class facility, the important measurements that are made there, and the contributions that research projects at that facility make toward emerging questions in atmospheric science. I see this as an important learning opportunity for our students, especially those who want to continue with scientific research in atmospheric or environmental science beyond Colorado College.”

Storm Peak Laboratory is an active observatory that is internationally recognized for teaching and research in meteorology and atmospheric chemistry.

Check out Gratz’s website to read more about her research.

Report an issue - Last updated: 11/14/2022