BY: ERICA SHYMON
Read Part 1 of Erica’s Journey!
As an Intern at NJDEP, AQES Department, my objective is to determine the relationship of monitored ozone levels to monitored volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels in New Jersey using air quality data that has been collected from Photochemical Assessment Monitoring Stations (PAMS). During my first week, I researched some information that will be useful during my project, such as definitions.
During my second week as an intern, I began analyzing the tens of thousands of data that was collected via PAMS. The data was already given to me on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets; the data includes concentration of all 56 VOCs, NOx, and ozone at three PAMS sites (Camden, Rider, and Rutgers) from the years 2001-2014. As a start to analyzing all of this data, I found the top 10 VOCs based on their concentration. Excel has become my best friend during this process of analyzing the data; I used it to determine the top VOCs through a formula on Excel; I also used it to graph the VOC production (average concentration) through 2001-2014. I have already learned more about Excel and hopefully will continue to expand my experience with it.
Aside from sitting at the computer and analyzing data, I met with my supervisors to discuss my results from this week. They informed me of the responsibilities they have as Bureau Chief of Air Monitoring and as Section Chief of Evaluation and Planning. Learning about their job descriptions was interesting because I have been analyzing all of this data, but was unaware as to where it plays a part in the department. Actually, one of my supervisors takes my data analysis and relates it to the data analysis that was interpreted in different states. They also hope that this data analysis will implement future policies about vehicle exhaust emissions and other hazardous materials released into the air. I hope to learn more about how these policies are implemented, i.e. what procedures they have to follow to get a policy to pass through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Erica Shymon is a senior chemistry major at the University of Delaware.