Thursday, March 26, 2015

URSP Student Nadia Ahmadi Researches George Mason's Reaction to Storm Events

Living on campus for three years, I’ve seen really shocking instances of flooding where areas of the sidewalk are completely avoided, and stairs look like waterfalls and I always question why George Mason’s campus is so prone to flooding.  This project interests me as it deals with water resources. I find water resources interesting because it’s easy to see how the smallest change in a watershed can so quickly affect peak flow. Monitoring a watershed appeals to me because there are so many ways to find simple solutions to issues, such as high peak flows, and apply it to all watersheds across the board to tackle global issues, such as water shortages.

This project relates to my long-term goals in that it introduced me to managing my own student led research where I have to ask new questions and implement different methodologies to try and find answers. The OSCAR program is well designed in that it transitions undergraduate students into thinking and conducting research like graduate students.

On a weekly basis, I work with ArcGIS, a geographic information system that allows me to work with high resolution data to input accurate data to model George Mason’s reaction to flooding. When it does rain, I walk around campus using pedestrian routes and note areas that have flooded due to lack of a drainage system, poor ground leveling, surface overflow, etc. After collecting those observations, as well as data from our water data information system (, I enter it into ArcGIS and by the end I hope to see which areas are more prone to flooding when it rains.

One thing I discovered this week is how to operate certain features of ArcGIS, such as “sink” which identifies areas of internal drainage, that will assist me in identifying new potential areas of flooding when it’s time to conduct field observations during rainfall events.