Namrata Shanmukh Panji
IGC FELLOW | Global Change Center
Ph.D. Student • Civil and Environmental Engineering
Research Interests: Atmospheric chemistry, air quality, and atmospheric measurement techniques
Advisor: Dr. Gabriel Isaacman-VanWertz
Namrata Shanmukh Panji joined Virginia Tech in Fall of 2019 to work on a Master’s in Environmental Engineering. She started volunteering at the Isaacman-VanWertz lab in the same semester where she was given the opportunity to explore and work on different on-going projects. A year later, growing interest in the field of atmospheric sciences prompted her to pursue a doctoral degree in the Fall of 2020. During this, she will collect and analyze data to study the complex feedback systems that exist between volatile organic compounds emitted by forest canopies and their impact on the chemical formation and loss of tropospheric ozone. She is currently working with Dr. Isaacman-VanWertz to develop a novel sampling device that will improve our ability to measure volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere.
This project is made interdisciplinary by utilizing the expertise atmospheric chemists, ecologists, and biologists. She believes that her involvement in the IGC will significantly improve this inherently interdisciplinary research project and will provide her with the means to give back to the program through her experiences working with an interdisciplinary team. Namrata is also currently a member of the executive board of VA American Water Works Association & Virginia Water Environment Association Student Chapter.
Prior to coming to Virginia Tech, Namrata obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering in 2014 from BMSCE, India. There she worked on testing and evaluating different electrode materials to increase the efficiency of microbial fuel cells for the treatment of wastewater. Soon after receiving her degree, she had the opportunity to work with Chhavi Sharda at the Centre for Science and Environment, India, a research-based NGO. Here, she conducted performance analyses on decentralized wastewater treatment systems to better understand them.
As a child, Namrata’s parents had immense influence on her development. Her interest in science and mathematics was nurtured by her father, who himself is a civil engineer with a curious mind. Watching her mother teach children has also been inspirational. Moving forward, she sees herself continuing to work on solutions to a diverse range of environmental problems and engage in interdisciplinary research.